News and NARC Updates

2022 Legislative Updates

Treasury Issues Final Rule for State & Local Fiscal Recovery Funds Program to Support the Ongoing COVID Response (01/06/2022)
Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury issued the Final Rule for the State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) program, enacted as a part of the American Rescue Plan (ARPA), which delivers $350 billion to state, local, and Tribal governments to support their response to and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The SLFRF program ensures governments have the resources needed to respond to the pandemic, including providing health and vaccine services, supporting families and businesses struggling with the pandemic’s economic impacts, maintaining vital public services, and building a strong and equitable recovery. Click here to view the final rule text. Click here to view a user-friendly overview of the major provisions of the final rule. 

2021 Legislative Updates

Congress Sends Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill to Biden’s Desk (11/05/2021)
Congress passed a $1.2 trillion infrastructure package Friday, approving a signature part of President Joe Biden’s economic agenda. It will deliver $550 billion of new federal investments in America’s infrastructure over five years, touching everything from bridges and roads to the nation’s broadband, water and energy systems. Experts say the money is sorely needed to ensure safe travel, as well as the efficient transport of goods and produce across the country. Democrats claim the bill pays for itself through a multitude of measures and without raising taxes. But the Congressional Budget Office brushed aside several of those pay-for provisions, ultimately finding the bill would add $256 billion to the deficit over the next 10 years. It’s significantly smaller than the $2.25 trillion proposal that Biden unveiled in March, known as the American Jobs Plan 

OSHA Releases New Rule on COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing (11/04/2021)
On November 4, the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued an emergency temporary standard (ETS) to require large employers to develop, implement and enforce a COVID-19 vaccination policy or institute a policy to allow employees to choose between vaccination and weekly testing. The ETS applies to employers with 100 employees or more that are subject to the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act of 1970. This includes county governments located in the 26 states with OSHA-approved state plans, which are OSHA-approved workplace safety and health programs operated by individual states or U.S. territories. The ETS will take effect on November 5, 2021, and covered employees must have their vaccination policies in place within 30 days. The deadline for employees to be fully vaccinated or begin regular testing is January 4, 2022. OSHA has already initiated a 30-day public comment period. Aside from seeking general comments on all aspects of the rule and how it would be adopted as a final standard, OSHA is seeking public input on nine specific topics.  

Assistant Secretary Castillo Highlights Regional Collaboration in Testimony Before the Senate EPW Committee on EDA Reauthorization  (11/03/2021)
Last week the Honorable Alejandra Castillo U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) testified before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW) on the importance of reauthorizing EDA, which has not been reauthorized since 2004. In her testimony, Secretary Castillo highlighted EDA’s growth in size and budget over the past 17 years and especially over the past four years in response to disasters. She also recognized the need for regional collaboration as a means to achieving economic growth and ensuring equitable growth that reaches the nation’s underserved communities. EDA has increasingly been called on to play a prominent role in disaster recovery efforts, including two disaster supplementals in Fiscal Years 2018 and 2019 totaling $1.2 billion, $1.5 billion under the CARES Act, and now $3 billion under the ARP Act. Reauthorization is vitally important now to position EDA to respond to new and existing economic development challenges.