Committee Passes Peters Bipartisan Bill to Help Improve the Federal Grant Application Process

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Bipartisan legislation authored by U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI) that would help streamline the administration of grant programs across the federal government has advanced in the Senate. Governments and organizations in small and rural communities often struggle when applying for federal grants because they lack the necessary resources to navigate a complicated application process. Peters’ bill would simplify this application process to increase access to federal grants for all communities. The legislation builds on a 2019 law led by Peters that required federal grant programs to streamline data standards for applications and reporting. The bill was passed by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee where Peters serves as Chair, and now moves to the full Senate for consideration.

“Complicated and outdated processes to apply for federal grants often result in underserved communities missing out on opportunities to receive critical funding,” said Senator Peters. “This bipartisan legislation will help modernize this process and make sure every community in Michigan and across the nation has an equal opportunity to receive federal funding.”

The Streamlining Federal Grants Act directs the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to provide guidance to federal agencies on how they can simplify and streamline their grant application processes, including by making notice of funding opportunities easier to understand, updating software and systems that are used to apply for and manage federal grants, and implementing common data standards for grant reporting. The bill also requires agencies to appoint a senior official to develop and implement these plan to improve their grant application and reporting processes. By improving and updating the process to apply for federal grants, Peters’ legislation would reduce the burden on organizations applying for grants, and ensure the fair and efficient distribution of federal grants to communities with the greatest need. 

Peters also held a hearing earlier this year to discuss challenges faced by governments and organizations in small and rural communities when applying for federal grants.

Below are statements in support of Peters’ bipartisan legislation:

“As an economic development agency representing a rural county with limited capacity, we regularly see the challenge of being able to identify and access information on federal funding programs, ”said Justin Horvath, President and CEO of the Shiawassee Economic Development Partnership. “We applaud Senator Peters’ effort to improve this process and are confident that if this legislation is passed, it would ultimately help us to access more dollars to improve our community.”

“Our organization works tirelessly to empower young people in Saginaw with the skills and education they need to improve their lives, and federal grants are critical to helping us with this mission,” said Eric Eggleston, Executive Director of Youth Development Corporation. “Senator Peters’ Streamlining Federal Grants Act will help us access the funding we need to ensure young people have the power to transform themselves and their communities. We’re grateful to him for his efforts.”

“The Sylvester Broome Empowerment Village offers youths in Flint access to free programs in academics, athletics and art. These programs would not be possible without the assistance of federal resources,” said Maryum Rasool, Executive Director of the Sylvester Broome Empowerment Village. “I’m thankful to Senator Peters for introducing this legislation which would make it easier for nonprofits like ours to access the federal funding we need to make a difference in communities across Michigan.”

“The Michigan Nonprofit Association represents hundreds of organizations across Michigan that rely on federal grants to improve lives and livelihoods across our communities,” said Kelley J. Kuhn, president and CEO of the Michigan Nonprofit Association. “We appreciate Senator Peters for leading this legislation that will ensure that all of these organizations can have a better chance of accessing these funds.”

“The Flint Mass Transportation Authority is dependent on special grants that provide funding opportunities that assist us in advancing our mission to become a zero emission transportation system,” said Ed Benning, General Manager of Flint Mass Transit Authority. “We’re grateful to Senator Peters for leading this legislation that will help the Authority achieve those initiatives.”

“As a first time Mayor, this legislation addresses one of the most critical areas that I feel has stymied growth in my community and communities like mine for many years,” said City Muskegon Heights Mayor Walter Watt. “Having the knowledge, understanding and expertise to navigate the current complicated federal grant process is tedious and intimidating, and this bipartisan legislation will help tremendously with addressing this issue and leveling the playing field. Thank you to Senator Peters for his commitment and leadership on this issue and to Senators Cornyn and Lankford for their support of this important legislation.”

“Smaller cities like Rogers City often lack the resources to navigate a complicated process to apply for federal grants. This means that communities with the greatest needs often miss out on opportunities to receive federal funding that we rely on for critical programs,” said Rogers City Mayor Scott McLennan. “By leading this legislation, Senator Peters has once again shown that he has the backs of every community across Michigan – no matter their size.”

“The bipartisan Streamlining Federal Grants Act of 2023 sponsored by Senator Gary Peters and Senator John Cornyn would simplify the federal grant application process.  For smaller counties in Michigan and across the country, navigating the federal grant application process can be difficult.  This bill will help address barriers to reduce the complexity in the process enabling smaller units of government to successfully compete for critical grant awards,” said Cheboygan County Board Chairman John Wallace.