Despite heavy snowstorms hitting the nations’ capital, League Executive Director Carolyn Coleman, President JoAnne Mounce and Immediate Past President L. Dennis Michael took to Capitol Hill and the White House to meet with top Administration officials and members of the California congressional delegation to advocate for federal priorities most important to California cities. Sen. Kamala Harris, Rep. Judy Chu, and staff from the offices of Rep. Devin Nunes, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, and Rep. Grace Napolitano welcomed hearing directly from the city leaders on the importance of the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program to support housing and infrastructure investment, the need for greater infrastructure investment in our communities
, our insistence on local authority over drones, and about preserving the tax exemption for municipal bonds.
The group’s travel to Washington came only days before President Donald Trump released his first budget proposal that called for less rather than more federal investment in our cities. Under the president’s budget blueprint, CDBG, HOME funding for affordable housing, and the popular Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grant program for transportation infrastructure investments would all be eliminated.
The Leagues’ concerns regarding the importance of these programs were not lost on the Trump Administration. During a meeting with White House Department of Intergovernmental Affairs, Deputy Director Billy Kirkland, he acknowledged the real world positive impacts these programs have on cities large and small and was open to working with the League and cities across the country on solutions. Moving forward, League leaders will partner with cities across the country as well as other state municipal leagues to ensure the proposed funding cuts do not become law.
“Having a strong and unified voice in Washington will continue to be of vital importance moving forward”, stated League Executive Director Carolyn Coleman. “We will work with the Administration, our congressional delegation, and our federal and state counterparts to ensure that our most important priorities are top of mind and preserved.”
The 2017 federal priorities
, which were adopted by the board of directors in February, and advocacy materials outline in detail the most critical federal issues facing California cities. These materials are available for use by cities throughout the year and can be found on the League’s website.