WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Gary Peters (D-MI), Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, John Cornyn (R-TX), and James Lankford (R-OK) introduced bipartisan legislation that would help streamline the administration of grant programs across the federal government. 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. The senators’ bill would simplify and streamline this application process to increase access to federal grants for all communities. The legislation builds on a 2019 law led by Peters and Lankford that required federal grant programs to streamline data standards for applications and reporting.
“Complicated and outdated processes to apply for federal grants often result in underserved communities missing out on opportunities to receive critical funding,”said Senator Peters.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.”
“Applicants from local governments and organizations shouldn’t have to navigate layers of red tape in order to apply for a federal grant,” said Senator Cornyn.“This legislation would streamline the federal grant application process for Texas communities to ensure they can access the assistance they need.”
“Strategic, competitive federal grants can open opportunities for cities, states, and tribes, as well as local fire departments and others to improve infrastructure, interstate highways and waterways, broadband internet, and more,” said Senator Lankford. “But, the huge federal bureaucratic maze continues to make the grant process difficult to navigate. We can do better and we are. Our bill clearly designates an existing employee at each agency to serve on an interagency grants council, serve as the public contact for grants, and help implement the standards of my GRANT Act. Each agency has its own grants process, but the public-facing side of grants should be as simple and straightforward as possible.”
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, the senators’ 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.
Below are statements in support of the bipartisan legislation:
“I am thrilled to see the introduction of the Streamlining Federal Grants Act of 2023 in the Senate, which reflects in part the Relief4Charities policy asks to strengthen and support the nonprofit sector. This legislation will greatly improve access to federal grants for underserved communities and streamline the application process,” said Jody Levison-Johnson, PhD, LCSW, President & CEO of Social Current. “I want to extend my deepest gratitude to Senator Gary Peters, Senator John Cornyn, and Senator Lankford for their leadership and commitment to making federal grants more transparent, efficient, and accessible for organizations in need.”
“The federal government relies heavily on charitable nonprofits to perform services in every community across the United States. Yet the federal grants process is needlessly complex, exclusionary, and a reason the current nonprofit workforce shortage crisis is so severe,” said Tim Delaney, President & CEO, National Council of Nonprofits. “The networks of the National Council of Nonprofits strongly support the Streamlining Federal Grants Act as a needed step in de-complexifying federal grant making and providing clarity and fairness that will benefit all Americans.”
“The National League of Cities thanks Chairman Peters and Senators Lankford and Cornyn for their bipartisan leadership in reforming the federal grant system,”said NLC CEO and Executive Director Clarence Anthony. “Strong partnerships with our federal government enable many cities, towns and villages – especially smaller ones – to successfully compete for and win federal grants. The Streamline Federal Grants Act will allow local governments across America to more easily take advantage of federal resources that help transform our communities.”
“The bipartisan Streamlining Federal Grants Act would simplify the federal grant administration process, better enabling our nation’s counties to access grant opportunities,” said National Association of Counties Executive Director Matthew Chase. “Counties, especially those in rural areas, often face challenges in applying for complex federal grants due to resource constraints. This bill would address these barriers by improving interagency coordination, supporting under-resourced counties in the application processes and reauthorizing federal grant reform legislation. We thank Senators Peters and Cornyn for their leadership and look forward to working with our bipartisan congressional partners to secure passage of this legislation.”
“NAFOA strongly supports the push for improved access to grants for historically marginalizedtribes and communities with the greatest needs. It is a step in the right direction to ensure a level playing field for those that Congress intended to be the recipients and beneficiaries of these grants and programs,” said Susan Masten, NAFOA Interim Executive Director.