This Week in Photos: Local Leaders on Capitol Hill

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This week, NLC hosted our 2019 Local Leaders Fly-In, during which over 20 local officials met with staffers and Members of Congress in over 40 meetings on Capitol Hill. Over the three-day period, NLC was featured in two Capitol Hill briefings focused on workforce development and housing.

We’re proud of and thankful for the local leaders who demonstrated what partnership and progress on behalf of the American public looks like this week.

In meetings with Members of Congress and at Congressional briefings, local officials urged the federal government to take action on issues that matter most to our residents, including:

  • Preventing a federal government shutdown this fall;
  • Investing in infrastructure and workforce training;
  • Making our communities more resilient
  • Strengthening public finance and municipal bonds,
  • Stopping the widespread preemption of local broadband authority.

“Congress has a lot they need to accomplish for the country right now, and NLC leaders visited with our Representatives and Senators these past last few days to share the issues impacting our areas that could benefit from national action – like infrastructure, flood insurance and workforce training. Congress has a chance to prove that the everyday issues can get a vote in both the Senate and House for the good of the country.”

– Mike Dafney, Mayor, Alliance, Nebraska

“The NLC Fly-In allowed us the opportunity to share with our federal leaders about the innovative, collaborative and practical problem solving happening at a local level. In Kansas City, local leaders are tackling the climate crisis, and we hope that with the support of our federal government, we can be even more successful in creating more vibrant and resilient cities.”

– Lindsey Constance, Councilmember Ward IV, Shawnee, Kansas

“The Fly-In gave me the opportunity to speak to the need for investment in ending the opioid epidemic, building transportation infrastructure and workforce development, especially for our most vulnerable people. These are critical needs in West Hollywood, which we share with communities around the country. We were able to secure bi-partisan support on legislation to address these important issues.”

– Lindsey Horvath, Mayor Pro Tem, West Hollywood, CA

The leaders who joined NLC on Capitol Hill understand that the stakes are high. Every time the federal government fails to lead, our residents feel the effects. That’s why a federal-local partnership is so important, and why we’re so proud of the strength and leadership these local officials demonstrated this week.

“Having the opportunity to share our experiences as local elected officials is a mutual benefit, not only for us, but also for those in federal public service. This week’s NLC fly-in allowed us to promote specific, concrete solutions to the climate crisis directly to legislators. We appreciate and thank NLC for this opportunity and look forward to continued partnership.”

– Mike Kelly, Mayor, Roeland Park, Kansas

Key Takeaways and Next Steps

There will be a short-term continuing resolution to fund the government through November, which Congress is working on now, and it will include a short-term extension for the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). There was an agreement on both sides of the aisle and across the House and Senate that a shutdown is not a good outcome for our nation this fall.

Given the tight timeline before the start of the fiscal year on October 1, lawmakers are moving quickly to pass a stopgap funding measure, known as a continuing resolution (CR), to avoid a lapse in funding and a government shutdown. On Thursday, the House passed by CR by a vote of 301-123 to fund the government through November 21. The bill will now need to pass the Senate to avoid a government shutdown. The Senate is expected to take up the House measure next week. House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) noted that the legislation did not include any partisan riders that could have derailed it from passing both chambers.

On Capitol Hill, NLC members shared how the partial federal government shutdown earlier this year affected their communities. Local and federal leaders are in agreement about a number of issues, including the breadth of the challenges surrounding housing and homelessness – Senator Dianne Feinstein called homelessness one of the biggest, if not the biggest, problem facing cities today.

On November 20-23, city leaders will gather in San Antonio, Texas for City Summit to continue to craft policy, share ideas and speak up for the priorities of cities, towns and villages. Learn more at citysummit.nlc.org

Irma Esparza Diggs smallAbout the author: Irma Esparza Diggs is a senior executive and director of federal advocacy at the National League of Cities. Follow Irma on Twitter @iediggs.