On Friday, U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), along with Representative Greg Casar (D-TX-35), led 59 of their colleagues in sending a bicameral letter to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) calling on the Biden Administration to empower states and cities with more flexibility to tackle their local economic challenges when carrying out federally-funded projects—allowing them to expand diverse job growth and community hiring, support workers and grow their economy.
In their letter, the lawmakers call on the Administration to act swiftly to update decades-old regulations, known as Uniform Guidance, that currently governs how federal grant recipients can use their funds for federally-assisted projects: “Updating the Uniform Guidance is a crucial step to bring good-paying, family-sustaining jobs to the communities that need them the most. We look forward to working with the Biden Administration to empower state and local recipients of federal funds as they take substantial strides in improving job creation, quality, and equity for workers in hundreds of critical industries across the United States.”
The lawmakers stressed that these updates are as important as ever as we continue to work to implement major federal legislation—such as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Inflation Reduction Act and the CHIPS and Science Act.
A full copy of the letter is available here and below:
Dear Director Young,
We write to you in support of the recent Biden Administration efforts to update the regulations that govern how federal grant recipients can use their funds. This update provides a timely opportunity to ensure that workers are being treated fairly in federally funded projects. As you know, the Administration issued a Request for Information (RFI) on how to revise Chapters I and II of Subtitle A in Title 2 of the Code of Federal Regulation (CFR). We are encouraged that the Administration is updating the Uniform Guidance found in Chapter II, Part 200, and look forward to seeing updates that reflect the interests of workers in our communities. This letter serves as a follow-up to the attached letter, sent in 2022.
The Biden Administration made this update to the Uniform Guidance a priority in its report from the White House Task Force on Worker Organizing and Empowerment. That report highlighted strategies for the Administration to support good jobs, empower workers, and ensure local communities reap the full benefits of federal funding, and recommended updating the Uniform Guidance to help achieve these goals.
We believe that the recommendations submitted in response to the RFI by the Local Opportunities Coalition would allow the Biden Administration to fulfill these goals. As we work to implement legislative landmarks, such as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), and CHIPS and Science Act, we must guarantee that these laws result in quality jobs, greater racial and gender equity, and strong worker protections.
These recommendations include:
- Allowing states and localities to consider job, wage, and worker empowerment impacts when contracting with federal funds;
- Ensuring states and localities have the freedom to apply equitable hiring standards on their grantees, including local and targeted hiring programs; and
- Ensuring workers are protected through workforce transitions.
We were encouraged that the RFI included a plan to complete these regulatory updates by the end of 2023. As states and cities begin receiving federal financial assistance from these legislative landmarks, we ask that the OMB move forward quickly with this update to make sure they meet their end-of-year goal.
Updating the Uniform Guidance is a crucial step to bring good-paying, family-sustaining jobs to the communities that need them the most. We look forward to working with the Biden Administration to empower state and local recipients of federal funds as they take substantial strides in improving job creation, quality, and equity for workers in hundreds of critical industries across the United States.