NCSL on the Hill | Securing Federal Relief Funds for the States


New York Senator David Carlucci at the U.S. Capitol in March 2020.

New York Senator David Carlucci (D), shown here on a visit to the U.S. Capitol in March, is helping NCSL showcase state leadership in consumer privacy.

Lead Story

NCSL Helps Secure State Funding in 2 Major Federal Relief Packages

As the nation’s capital was shutting down to help mitigate the COVID-19 virus, NCSL’s staff ramped up advocacy efforts in Washington, D.C., to ensure states had the federal resources needed to battle the pandemic. 

The unprecedented public health emergency posed a behemoth challenge to states, requiring NCSL to leverage relationships at the federal and legislative levels and with coalition partners. Even as staff adapted to a “tele-advocacy” environment, they produced a flurry of forms, including letters to Congress and the Trump administration, Big Seven coalition statements of position and virtual meetings with congressional members and staff—all with the goal of securing flexible, direct resources to states on the front lines of the pandemic.

NCSL successfully helped to secure funding for states in both the Families First Coronavirus Relief Act (FFCRA) and the $2.2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

Within hours of enactment of the response packages, NCSL staff released an analysis and initiated a series of webinars for members distilling all the major policy areas affected, including education, emergency management, fiscal and health services.

In addition to launching more than a dozen webinars, staff also conducted multiple state-focused briefings for legislative leadership. In lieu of in-person gatherings, large-scale virtual engagements continue at a feverish pace with no signs of slowing as Congress and the administration produce new legislation and regulatory guidance affecting recently passed laws. 

NCSL will continue to be the states’ advocate in D.C. as the next phase of COVID-19 response develops.

D.C. Fly-Ins

Carlucci Talks Privacy, Consumer Protection

In early March, New York Senator David Carlucci (D) visited Washington, D.C., to help NCSL showcase state leadership in privacy and consumer protection. Carlucci met with staff from the Senate Commerce and House Energy and Commerce committees, both of which have released bills or proposed legislation on privacy.

Although neither chamber currently has scheduled hearings on comprehensive privacy legislation, progress on a federal bill continues.

Carlucci also met with Federal Communications Commission representatives to discuss spoofing and robocalls, state-federal collaboration and the agency’s proposed three-digit mental health hotline.

Read more:

D.C. Fly-Ins: As the voice of state legislatures in Washington, D.C., NCSL brings legislators to Capitol Hill to meet with members of Congress, the administration and other players involved in crucial state-federal issues.

The Latest From D.C.

Updating COVID-19 Relief Bills

NCSL is working on two changes to recent coronavirus relief measures: The first would make lost revenue a valid use of the $150 billion available to states, territories, localities and tribes through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The second would expand eligibility for emergency paid leave payroll tax credits to state and local governments under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

—Erlinda Doherty, Jon Jukuri

Real ID Deadline Extended

The Department of Homeland Security has moved the Real ID enforcement deadline to Oct. 1, 2021, a change that NCSL sought. NCSL continues to work on updates, including that IDs acceptable for Real ID match those forms of ID already accepted by the Transportation Security Administration, such as military IDs, transportation worker credentials, tribal-issued photo IDs and trusted traveler cards.

—Ben Husch

Senate Action on LWCF Likely

Following a presidential tweet of support in early March, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) put a bill on the Senate calendar to allocate $900 million in permanent funding for the Land Water Conservation Fund, which finances state efforts to develop public parks and other outdoor recreation sites. The bill could come up for a vote when the chamber next convenes.

—Ben Husch, Kristen Hildreth

Support for Older Americans

The Supporting Older Americans Act of 2020, which became law in March, appropriates funding across fiscal years 2020-24 for a variety of services and programs for older individuals. The law boosts funding by 7% in the first year, with 6% increases in subsequent years. Among other things, the law removes funding limits for the National Family Caregiver Support Program and supports efforts to address social isolation among older Americans.

For more, see NCSL’s HHS Committee Aging Services policy.

—Haley Nicholson, Margaret Wile

On the Radar

Data delay: NCSL is working on behalf of states forced to amend redistricting laws after the U.S. Census Bureau pushed its data delivery date to July 31, 2021.

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