Reclaiming the Progressive Potential of Procurement

Reclaiming the Progressive Potential of Procurement

A longstanding misinterpretation of procurement law keeps cities and states from using federal money to advance local policy goals. JMA’s Madeline Janis and UCLA School of Law Professor of Legal Ethics Scott Cummings on how groups like the Local Opportunities Coalition are pushing the Biden admin to fix this. 

Read the article here.

Ensuring Federal Investments Benefit Workers and Communities

Ensuring Federal Investments Benefit Workers and Communities

by Michael Lawliss, JMA Senior Policy Coordinator

As states and cities begin to receive funding from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), President Biden signed off on two new laws that will continue the flow of federal funds to our communities. The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and the Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (CHIPS) and Science Act are landmark pieces of legislation that are likely to create hundreds of thousands of new, clean manufacturing jobs, helping us build critical domestic industries.

But we must ensure that we develop the economy of the future in an equitable way, providing opportunities for all. It will take additional federal and local action to make certain that the jobs created through these investments are good jobs that lift up workers and communities and address historic inequities. 

The IRA makes significant investments to fight climate change. Here are some of the highlights:

  • It makes historic climate investments through tax credits that incentivize renewable energy technology and clean transportation, including a $7,500 credit for consumers to purchase electric vehicles with batteries manufactured in North America. These investments are estimated to help our country reduce carbon emissions by roughly 40% by 2030. 
  • It also includes $1 billion in grants for local governments to buy certain types of heavy-duty electric vehicles, including municipal vehicles and school buses. Jobs to Move America has been advocating for the electrification of school buses as an opportunity to give children clean air to breathe, lower carbon emissions, and create good union jobs in this emerging sector. 
  • It creates new manufacturing jobsby investing more than $60 billion in clean energy industries like battery production, solar panels, offshore wind turbines, heat pumps and recycling. Additional tax credits will help jump start these industries in the United States. 
  • It addresses historic inequities by investing $60 billion in programs related to environmental justice, including projects to address legacy pollution and bring clean energy technology to low-income and disadvantaged communities.

Meanwhile, CHIPS and the Science Act includes nearly $40 billion to grow the domestic supply chain of semiconductors—which are essential components of electronic devices, including those powering clean energy and transportation—and $11 billion to encourage research, development, and other workforce training initiatives within the industry. 

It’s encouraging to see so much federal investment, but we can’t stop there. There’s much more to be done to address climate change and stand with workers and communities that will most profoundly feel the impact of transitioning to clean energy.  

As we develop our domestic supply chain for electric vehicles, solar technologies, offshore wind components, and semiconductors, we will need to work together to make sure these are good jobs, and that mining to extract minerals needed for EV batteries is respectful of the environment, workers, and the communities where they operate. It is imperative that the Biden administration work with community groups, environmental organizations, and labor partners to create strong job quality standards attached to this funding.  

One change the Biden administration can make right now to center job quality in these investments is to update the Office of Management and Budget’s Uniform Guidance. Allowing states and cities to consider job quality metrics, like the number of U.S. jobs created, wages and benefits, training opportunities for workers, and targeted hiring policies, will help foster a “race to the top” when states and cities spend public funds. 

We look forward to working with the Biden administration on making sure these public investments benefit workers and communities and create good jobs with safe working conditions for those who need them the most. 

Local Opportunities Comment Re: Office of Management and Budget’s Request for Information

Local Opportunities Comment Re: Office of Management and Budget’s Request for Information

The Local Opportunities Coalition and supporting partners wrote a comment in response to the Office of Management and Budget’s Request for Information on how the Uniform Guidance can be updated or revised to give state and local recipients of federal financial assistance more tools to create good jobs and promote greater racial and gender equity in their hiring processes.

The Uniform Guidance is a set of federal regulations that lay out how states and cities can contract with federal funds, such as from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Inflation Reduction Act, and the CHIPS and Science Act. For decades, states and cities have been asking the federal government to revise these regulations, and the Biden Administration has taken the first steps to making these critical updates.

See the comment below. To read more about this campaign, including details on our policy recommendations, please visit the Local Opportunities Coalition website here.

Congressional Letter to OMB in Support of Updating the Uniform Guidance

Congressional Letter to OMB in Support of Updating the Uniform Guidance

In April 2022, Representative Karen Bass, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, and Senator Tammy Duckworth led a letter signed by 73 of their Congressional colleagues in support of Jobs to Move America’s local hire campaign. The attached letter, sent to the Office of Management and Budget, advocates for updating federal regulations to allow cities and states to do local and targeted hiring on all federally-funded projects and to include other labor and equity standards in their procurement.