8 Things NLC Has Accomplished in Trump’s First 100 Days

The U.S. Capitol Building Readied for the Trump Administration

The U.S. Capitol illuminated the night before the inauguration of President Donald J. Trump. The president is about to mark his 100th day in office. (Getty Images)

Here at the National League of Cities (NLC), we’ve been busy these first 100 days of the Trump administration. While everyone is grading the administration and discussing the president’s performance, we’ve decided to take a look back at our advocacy efforts to amplify city voices to the administration and Congress.

Here’s a breakdown of what we’ve been up to during President Trump’s first 100 days in office:

We Met the New Faces in Town
Since the election, NLC has committed itself to making inroads with the new administration and the 115th Congress. Back in December, we met with transition team officials to discuss city priorities long before the inauguration. We also set out to meet with the offices of each new member of Congress. So far, we’ve held more than 360 meetings on the Hill with members of Congress and their staffers.

We also had the administration come to us. Both Secretary DeVos of the Department of Education and EPA Administrator Pruitt addressed delegations of local officials at our Congressional City Conference (CCC) in March.

Our state municipal league fly-in this February included 42 meetings between state league leaders and congressional offices. During our CCC, we provided grassroots training to local officials and organized more than 200 meetings on the Hill attended by nearly 500 of our members.

We Changed the Narrative around Cities
We set out to aggressively refute mischaracterizations of cities that developed during the presidential campaign last year. We delivered our message that cities are partners to the Trump transition team in December and have been continuing it ever since. Our goal was to highlight how cities are economic centers that drive this great nation. Cities are home to 80 percent of our residents and produce the lion’s share of our national GDP. Local governments own half of the nation’s bridges, 78 percent of the nation’s road miles and 95 percent of the nation’s water infrastructure. We are continuing to reaffirm that cities are not a problem; rather, they are a crucial part of the solution.

We Testified Before Congress
Multiple Congressional committees have wanted to hear from cities. Since January, our members testified at three congressional committee hearings: President Zone testified on Brownfields before the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure; Mayor Sal Panto of Easton, Pennsylvania, testified on Brownfields before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce; and Councilmember Jermaine Reed of Kansas City, Missouri, testified on the impacts of unfunded mandates on local budgets before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

We Stood Up against Threats to Federal Funding to Cities
We took a firm stance against attempts to cut federal funding to so-called “sanctuary cities.” The fact of the matter is that cities do comply with current immigration law and many routinely collaborate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). We welcomed a court ruling against the “sanctuary city” executive order, which would have ultimately put American cities at risk. Our message is simple, if the federal government is unable to enforce the nation’s broken immigration laws, it should not attempt to shift that burden onto cities.

We Continue to Push Back on Efforts to Preempt Local Control
On the regulatory front, NLC and the state municipal leagues submitted comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) defending city authority to review applications for wireless infrastructure against preemption threats. NLC cautioned the FCC from pursuing additional preemption powers, arguing that Congress’s existing authorization for the agency does not intend for the FCC to strip local governments of their authority over the rights-of-way.

We Made Sure Health Care Reform Doesn’t Shift the Burden to Cities
Facing a health care reform proposal that could have dramatically shifted costs of unreimbursed care onto cities, we launched an action alert to activate our members. Our members told Congress that they must support and work toward a health care system that protects mental health and drug addiction services, does not raise the total number of uninsured Americans, keeps requirements for essential health benefits and does not place an unfair burden on local governments. 

We Told Congress We Need a Better Budget Proposal
The president’s “skinny” budget proposal included massive cuts to domestic programs vital to cities. We urged Congress to throw out the administration’s proposal and create a plan focused on building prosperity, expanding opportunity and investing in our future. But we didn’t stop there. During CCC, more than 600 local officials signed our letter to Congress to save Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) and other key areas of federal funding to cities.

We also took advantage of Congress’ April recess to activate our members in home districts through our #FightTheCuts campaign. This fight may be far from over, but local leaders from Alaska to New Jersey met with their members of Congress, placed op-eds and held constituency events in an effort to protect federal funding for local programs with proven results. 

We Affirmed that Cities Will Continue to Lead
Congress just narrowly averted a federal government shutdown by passing a seven-day continuing resolution to fund the government through next May 5. But as local leaders continue to demonstrate, they will lead even if there is continued uncertainty in Washington.

Whether it’s a city like Fayetteville, Arkansas organizing a town hall style event to educate constituents on the potential impacts of drastic cuts to domestic funding, or one of the 150 local elected officials who signed the #Cities4Climate letter to President Trump reaffirming their commitment to acting on climate change — we as local leaders will continue to lead, period.

We’ve made it our mission to highlight the good work that cities and city leaders do every day, and we will continue to listen to your stories and advocate to make sure that local priorities are Washington’s priorities. Please continue to share your cities story with us by sending them to advocacy@nlc.org.

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

 

Tax Reform: Growing the Economy Starts with Cities

Now is the time to create a fair, sound and economically-stimulating tax code that allows cities to thrive — but the administration’s new plan raises major concerns for local governments nationwide.

On Wednesday, President Donald Trump announced a tax reform plan that proposes large reductions in individual and business income tax rates, but the elimination of most deductions could cause problems for cities. (Getty Images)

This week, the Trump Administration released its tax reform plan, billed as “the biggest tax cut and largest tax reform in our history.” If fully implemented, the plan would have lasting impacts on every sector of American life, including cities. The National League of Cities (NLC) recognizes the need for comprehensive tax reform. Since the last major overhaul in 1986, the system has grown overly complicated. Now is the time to create a fair, sound and economically-stimulating tax code that allows cities to thrive — but this plan raises major concerns for local governments nationwide.

The administration’s outline reduces the corporate tax rate to 15 percent from the current 35 percent level. Many on Capitol Hill fear such a low rate would contribute to a growing “mountain of debt” if it is not sufficiently offset by cuts to loopholes. On the personal tax side, a doubling of the standard deduction for individuals and married couples would be offset by the elimination of all itemized deductions, with an exception for mortgages and charitable donations. That includes the state and local tax deduction.

Unlike other federal deductions, the state and local tax is a mandatory payment — and removal would put pressure on localities to lower taxes, which constitutes a preemption of local taxing authority.

The local tax deduction is really a 100-plus year agreement with the federal government that gives local leaders — who represent the level of government most trusted by, and closest to, the people — the ability to generate the revenue they need without the fear of double-taxing residents and families. Cities are not a special interest loophole, and our tax policy should not treat them like one.

While we fight to save the state and local tax deduction, we also need to be mindful of another potential upcoming battle: the fight to protect the tax exemption for municipal bonds.

The tax plan did not mention or allude to the tax-exempt status of municipal bonds, but we still need to acknowledge the potential risk they face in the upcoming months. It is likely that any proposed changes to the tax-exempt status of municipal bonds would be rolled into an infrastructure plan.

Municipal bonds are an irreplaceable driver of success for cities. They serve as the primary method for state and local governments to finance more than two-thirds of the nation’s public infrastructure.

This country was built on municipal bonds. Over the past decade alone, this financing vehicle has paid for more than $2 trillion in infrastructure projects nationwide. Any alteration to the tax-exempt status could increase the cost of financing vital local projects by 25 to 30 percent. Increased costs for financing the expansion of schools, refurbishing of water treatment facilities, building of bridges and many other public projects would be passed onto the local tax payer.

We need tax reform — but federal tax cuts cannot come at the price of denying local leaders the ability to raise the revenues that rebuild main streets, keep streets safe, and support schools.

We call on Congress and the administration to create a comprehensive tax reform package that ensures local governments retain the authority to set their own tax policy and continue to drive the national economy.

About the author: Brett Bolton is the principal associate for Federal Advocacy (Finance, Administration and Intergovernmental Affairs) at NLC.

Councilmember Jermaine Reed Testifies On Unfunded Mandates In Washington

In his testimony, Councilmember Reed provided several examples of how unfunded mandates create economic strain on Kansas City and its residents.

On Wednesday, National League of Cities (NLC) Board Member and Kansas City, Missouri, Councilmember Jermaine Reed testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s Subcommittee on Intergovernmental Affairs. Appearing on behalf of NLC, Reed described how unfunded mandates place burdens on local governments and communities.

In his testimony, Councilmember Reed provided several examples of how unfunded mandates create economic strain on Kansas City and its residents. He cited provisions of the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, and Americans with Disabilities Act, emphasizing that while these laws play an important role in protecting communities, federal funding and local flexibility for implementation would relieve strains on local budgets.

“City leaders are on the front lines of almost every issue — from education to healthcare to the environment — but one of the biggest barriers to our progress is the burden of unfunded mandates,” said Councilmember Reed. “Our constituents depend on a healthy, balanced federal-local partnership to ensure that government services are affordable, reliable and high-quality.”

The impact of President Donald Trump’s proposed budget cuts figured prominently in the hearing. In her opening statement, Ranking Member Val Demings said the budget cuts would shift costs to cities and counties and burden low-income families. “Proposed federal budget cuts to critical programs would further reduce our ability to meet the everyday needs of our community, as well as add to the burden that unfunded mandates have on our city,” said Reed in his testimony.

Reed also urged the committee to improve the federal-local consultation process and the way local government input is considered in rulemaking. By offering more opportunities for local elected officials to participate in the rulemaking process, he argued, agencies would give local governments more flexibility to balance their budgets, provide high-quality services, and respond to the needs of constituents.

Councilmember Reed was joined during the hearing by Judge/Executive Gary Moore of Boone County, Kentucky, representing the National Association of Counties, as well as a representatives from Fairfax County, Virginia, the Utah State Senate, and the North Carolina State Senate. Moore underscored the need for strengthening the intergovernmental consultation process, adding, “Federal policies and programs developed with only the impact on the federal treasury in mind put the ability of local governments to fulfill our responsibilities at risk.”

For more information on the Congressional hearing, watch NLC’s video of the hearing and read Councilmember Jermaine Reed’s written testimony. For more information on unfunded mandates, read the Unfunded Mandates Information and Transparency Act and NLC’s joint letter of support.

About the author: Sam Warlick is the senior content strategist at the National League of Cities.

Can Your City Stand to Lose Afterschool Funding?

The president’s budget proposal includes a $1.2 billion cut to school programs that will impact more than 1,600,000 children and their families.

There are a number of ways city leaders can strengthen partnerships and build public will to support afterschool initiatives like the 21st Century Community Learning Center program. (Getty Images)

This April recess, NLC is encouraging city leaders to engage with their members of Congress while they are at home in their districts for two weeks. Don’t let Congress leave America’s cities behind — join us as we #FightTheCuts proposed in the administration’s budget.

This post was co-authored by Nan Whaley and Bela Shah Spooner. It is part of a series on the 2018 federal budget.

Last month, President Donald Trump released his 2018 federal budget proposal, which contains across-the-board cuts to programs that are critical to cities. Included in those cuts was the elimination of the only federal funding stream dedicated to supporting quality afterschool and summer learning programs for 1.6 million children across the country who attend high-poverty, low-performing schools — the 21st Century Community Learning Center (21st CCLC) grants.

The programs funded through 21st CCLC grants provide essential academic and enrichment supports to children and young teens after school and during the summer while also providing a critical value to working parents, businesses and city leaders. Programs run from the time when school lets out around 3:00 p.m. until 6:00 or 7:00 p.m., enabling parents to stay at work knowing that their children are safe and learning. Kids in these programs also often receive an after-school snack or meal through additional federal funding that originates from the U.S. Department of Agriculture; sometimes it’s the only meal they will have until the next morning.

For working parents, these afterschool programs are a lifeline, helping them work those extra few hours each day to pay the bills and providing their children a nutritious meal. For businesses, these programs mean employees with children are more likely to have peace of mind when their children are out of school, keeping productivity high. For cities, these programs keep their communities safe, incentivize businesses to locate in places where employees have supports, and engage children in learning and on a path to graduation — all while helping the future generation develop key skills to land a job and support the local economy in the future.

Municipal leaders all know that successful, productive young people equal a successful city. Without these essential programs on which kids, families and communities rely, cities will be faced with hundreds or thousands of kids with no place to go after school. No one needs to tell a mayor, city councilmember, police chief or chamber of commerce executive how much of a problem that could be.

These programs also provide a critical service to parents and caregivers, allowing them to continue to work during these hours and thus contributing to the local economy and their own economic mobility.

National Demand for Afterschool Programs

There has long been a national demand for federal funding for afterschool programs. Congress first authorized the 21st Century Community Learning Center program in 1998 for $40 million. Based on documented need and demand, it was reauthorized in 2002 through the No Child Left Behind Act for $1 billion, transferring the administration of the grants from the U.S. Department of Education to state education agencies. The 21st CCLC program was again reauthorized in 2015 through the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) for $1.167 billion, showing bipartisan support and recognition of the importance of this funding stream for afterschool programs. Each state receives a fixed amount of 21st CCLC dollars, based on its share of Title I funding for low-income students, and afterschool programs at the local level apply for these dollars.

Even with this funding, hundreds of applications in each state are denied each year due to lack of funds. National data show that, while 10.2 million children participate in afterschool programs, almost 20 million children are waiting to get in. Cutting another million children out of programs puts our cities and families at risk.

In Dayton alone, 12,000 additional children would benefit from access to 21st CCLC afterschool and summer programs that currently support 40,000 children across the state of Ohio. This story is not unique to Dayton or any one city or town.

Nationwide, cities need these programs. As part of its City of Learners initiative, the city of Dayton has committed to preparing its young people for success in life and careers through afterschool and summer learning programs that help children and youth develop the skills that will put them on a path to success. It is vital for municipal leaders to understand the importance of federal funding for afterschool programs and the real impact they have on the lives of children and families in our communities. A tremendous burden will be on cities to respond if these funds are cut.

Lending Your Voice

The National League of Cities (NLC) has joined with the Afterschool Alliance, 139 national and more than 1,000 state and local organizations calling on House and Senate appropriators to reject the president’s proposed budget and fund the 21st Century Community Learning Centers initiative at or above its current level of $1.167 billion. Now is the time for you to lend your voice to this effort. Contact your member of Congress to ensure that they know the direct impact these proposed budget cuts will have on their communities and in their state. Here are four easy ways you can help:

  • Find out how many children in your state need afterschool programs and connect with your statewide afterschool network to learn how many kids are served by 21st CCLC programs in your community. Share those numbers with your representatives, either in a face-to-face meeting in your district or through a phone call to their office. Adding local stories to these numbers is critical.
  • Visit a 21st Century Community Learning Center in your city or town and hold a press conference about its value and how the proposed budget cuts could eliminate this critical program. Galvanize support in your community to contact your representatives to save the program.
  • Write an op-ed in your local newspaper on the importance of this program to your city and community. Send the article to your representative as well.
  • Contact Bela Shah Spooner at NLC to share your concern and learn more about NLC’s efforts to fight these cuts. NLC staff are always prepared to support you in your efforts to advocate for programs that are important to cities.

The Afterschool Alliance and the Senate Afterschool Caucus invite you to attend Afterschool and Summer Learning Programs: Preparing Young People for 21st Century Success, a briefing on Friday, April 21 at 1:00 p.m. EDT in room 385 of the Russell Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. NLC is co-sponsoring the briefing; please contact Bela Shah Spooner for more information.

About the authors:

Nan Whaley is the mayor of Dayton, Ohio.

 

Bela Shah Spooner is the program manager for expanded learning at the NLC Institute for Youth, Education, and Families.

President’s Budget Threatens Cities’ Ability to Act on Environmental & Infrastructure Issues

Cuts in the administration’s budget proposal threaten funds that cities rely on to invest in water management, clean energy and revitalization efforts across the country. Here’s how these cuts could impact your city.

Proposed cuts to regional water restoration programs would cost local governments $427 million in funds to help clean up waterways and natural environments like the Chesapeake Bay. (Getty Images)

This April recess, NLC is encouraging city leaders to engage with their members of Congress while they are at home in their districts for two weeks. Don’t let Congress leave America’s cities behind — join us this week and next as we #FightTheCuts proposed in the administration’s budget.

This post was co-authored by Mayor James Diossa and Will Downie. It is part of a series on the 2018 federal budget.

Proposed cuts to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), and the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) threaten the funds that cities of all sizes rely on to invest in water management, clean energy and revitalization efforts across the country, with many of the programs directly benefiting the most vulnerable members of society. Here’s how these cuts could impact your city.

Water

While President Donald Trump’s proposal increases funding for the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Fund programs and calls for level funding for WIFIA — a loan and loan guarantee program for large water infrastructure projects — it eliminates the Rural Utilities Services’ Water and Waste Water Loan and Grant Program under the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This program provides critical funds for rural communities across the country to maintain water infrastructure and address their unique water needs. Together, these water infrastructure programs helped small cities like Garber, Oklahoma, (population 842) protect their community’s drinking water by replacing aged water pipes and large cities like Boston (population 645,966) complete landfill closure and reduce rainwater infiltration.

Regional water restoration programs like the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and the Chesapeake Bay Initiative are also slated for elimination — a move that would cost local governments $427 million in funds to help clean up waterways and natural environments that provide national benefit. These funds allowed the village of Shorewood, Wisconsin, to reduce contamination at Atwater Beach by investing in improved sewer systems and the city of Port Huron, Michigan, to restore 5,000 square feet of fish habitat and provide recreation areas for residents and tourists. If the proposed cuts go through, cities will be stuck with another unfunded mandate to meet the federal requirements, in this case for pollution reduction.

Land

Although not specifically mentioned in the proposal, two key programs that help local governments establish local parks and greenways and revitalize abandoned properties may face cuts: the Land Conservation Fund and the Brownfields Redevelopment Program. The DOI Land and Water Conservation Fund helped the city of Seattle develop its now famous Gasworks Park. Without the assistance, the city would not have been able to transform an old gasification plant and its surrounding area into one of Seattle’s landmark public spaces. Meanwhile, under Mayor Diossa, the city of Central Falls, Rhode Island, leveraged a $200,000 EPA Brownfields grant with other public funds and private investment to restore an abandoned mill building into job-producing mixed-use retail and business space. Together, these programs are key funding opportunities to invest in local economies to create jobs, and increase property values, by bridging the financing gap for businesses and private capital.

Energy

The DOE Weatherization Assistance Program and the State Energy Program — which together provide over $300 million in assistance to local governments to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy projects, including assistance to low-income residents to help lower their energy bills — are proposed to be eliminated. These programs allowed the city of Philadelphia to invest in innovative weatherization ideas that led to an increase in the total number of weatherized homes in the city, a reduction to the weatherization cost per home, increased energy savings, and new weatherization jobs in Philadelphia.

Air and Climate

The president’s proposed budget also targets programs that help cities reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and meet their climate action goals. The EPA Diesel Emission Reduction Program encourages cities to switch to cleaner-burning diesel vehicles. Last year, the program provided $7.7 million to 90 different cities to provide safer and cleaner school buses through replacement and retrofitting rebates. In addition, the proposed budget would eliminate climate change research and partnership programs totaling $100 million that cities rely on for data and information on climate change impacts on their communities.

Personnel

Out of all the federal agencies, EPA faces the biggest hit overall with a proposal to cut funding by 31 percent and eliminate 3,200 jobs, or 20 percent of its employees. These staff cuts will have a negative effect on EPA’s role as a regulator and will impede the ability of local government to function. EPA approves a variety of permits and facilities that local governments rely on, like wastewater treatment plants. A “slimmed down” EPA will still have to process permits and projects, but a smaller staff will lead to delays and reduced technical assistance and will hurt local governments’ ability to provide the safe and clean environment they are entrusted to maintain.

Cities across the country be negatively impacted by the White House’s budget plan. The president’s proposal will see cities large and small working with fewer funds and a less responsive regulatory regime, crippling their ability to provide vital services and infrastructure to their citizens. These cuts are bad for every city in the country, and pose a threat to the environment, our economy and our future.

Learn more about NLC’s #FightTheCuts campaign here.

About the authors:

James Diossa is the mayor of Central Falls, Rhode Island.

 

Peter Friedrichs is the director of planning and economic development for the city of Central Falls, Rhode Island.

 

Will Downie is an intern with the National League of Cities’ Federal Advocacy team.

How the President’s Budget Proposal Could Stop the Transit Revolution in Its Tracks

Included in the administration’s first budget proposal is a $499 billion cut to one of the federal government’s most successful transportation funding programs: TIGER Grants.

TIGER Grants fund innovative transportation projects such as this light rail system in Seattle. (Getty Images)

This April recess, NLC is encouraging city leaders to engage with their members of Congress while they are at home in their districts for two weeks. Don’t let Congress leave America’s cities behind — join us this week and next as we #FightTheCuts proposed in the administration’s budget.

This post was co-authored by Michael Wallace and Sam Warlick. It is part of a series on the 2018 federal budget.

While on the campaign trail, President Donald Trump often spoke like a true champion of American infrastructure. “Our airports, bridges, water tunnels, power grids, rail systems — our nation’s entire infrastructure is crumbling,” he wrote in 2015, “and we aren’t doing anything to fix it.”

His first three months as president have told a different story. Included in the administration’s first budget proposal is a $499 billion cut to one of the federal government’s most successful programs: TIGER Grants.

Created in 2009, TIGER Grants fund innovative transportation projects like light rail, regional buses, bicycle networks and new freight systems. The process is competitive, transparent and application-based, meaning that the grant winners must demonstrate outstanding economic and community benefits.

Over the past eight years, TIGER grants have supplied $5.1 billion in new funding to some of America’s most innovative urban and rural transportation projects. They include:

  • The QLINE Streetcar in Detroit, which will link the city’s resurgent downtown to some of its most economically-challenged neighborhoods
  • The Texas Rural Transit Asset Replacement project, which upgraded facilities and buses serving low-income, elderly and disabled riders across the state
  • Montana’s Poplar Airport Regional Access Project, which improved bike/pedestrian access and economic development opportunities in rural and tribal communities
  • The nationally-renowned Atlanta Beltline Trail, a green pedestrian and bicycle corridor redeveloped on an abandoned rail corridor

Under the White House’s “skinny budget,” the TIGER Grant program would be crippled. It would cut off the flow of federal investment in innovative transportation infrastructure — a key investment that has helped drive our nation’s economic recovery.

The ball is now in Congress’s court. With two weeks left to present a full budget for adoption, the House of Representatives can keep their promise to reinvest in infrastructure and create prosperity for all communities.

On behalf of city leaders, we strongly encourage Congress to stand with cities across the country and stop cuts to successful, valuable federal programs — including TIGER grants.

About the authors:

mike_wallace_125x150Michael Wallace is the Program Director of Federal Advocacy at the National League of Cities. Follow him on Twitter @MikeWallaceII.

 

Sam Warlick is a Senior Communications Associate at the National League of Cities.

Five Ways to Fight the Cuts From Your Own City

This April recess, NLC is encouraging city leaders to engage with their members of Congress while they are at home in their districts for two weeks. Don’t let Congress leave America’s cities behind — join us this week and next as we #FightTheCuts proposed in the administration’s budget.

Members of Congress are on recess from April 10 – 21, but many will hold town hall meetings with their constituents during that time. (Getty Images)

This post is part of a series on the 2018 federal budget.

Now is the time to fight to protect critical funding to cities. Today, Congress starts a two-week period of recess, during which our federally-elected officials have the chance to return to their home districts, connect with constituents, and, in many cases, hold town hall meetings. This recess, one of the key issues on the minds of members of Congress traveling back home will be the long battle for the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 budget waiting for them when they come back to Washington, D.C., on April 24.

President Donald Trump’s recently released budget proposal is a non-starter for cities. It slashes funding for crucial programs that cities and their residents rely on by cutting more than $54 billion in domestic spending across the board. Make no mistake — no city in America would be better off under the president’s budget proposal, and we must stand together to fight the cuts.

We need local elected officials to take this opportunity to send a clear message to Congress early on: this budget season, Congress must stand with cities. Here are five ways you can fight back against the proposed cuts and tell your representatives that when they get back to Washington, they need to work on a budget that puts cities first.

1) Visit Your Member of Congress’ District Office

Take advantage of the fact that your congressperson is at home in your city during the next two weeks. Learn about how proposed budget cuts may impact your city and how you can set up a meaningful meeting with your member of Congress.

2) Call or Write Your Member of Congress

In-person meetings are always best, but you can also use our template and write a letter to your member of Congress urging them to stand with, and invest in, America’s cities. You can also use our script to call your member of Congress’ district office and urge them to develop a budget that’s focused on building prosperity, expanding opportunity, and investing in America’s cities.

 3) Write an Op-Ed and Have It Locally Placed

Pen a letter to your editor or draft an op-ed highlighting your advocacy on behalf of your city, and ask your member of Congress to not cut vital sources of city funding. We’ve already created an easy-to-use template.

 4) Engage Through Social Media

Print our easy-to-use #FightTheCuts banner and Tweet your photo with it to @LeagueofCities. Let’s see how many local elected officials we can document standing up for cities.

5) Visit nlc.org/FightTheCuts

Our strength as an organization lies in our members. We need city leaders to fight back against the proposed budget cuts and tell Congress to approve a budget that works for cities. Find other creative ways you can take action on our #FightTheCuts campaign page.

About the author: Irma Esparza Diggs is the Senior Executive and Director of Federal Advocacy for the National League of Cities.