Mayors’ bipartisan national agenda covers a full range of issues impacting American cities

Washington, D.C. — Today, the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) released its 2024 election priorities, a bipartisan national issue platform that will drive the mayors’ advocacy at this summer’s Republican and Democratic national conventions and beyond. Release of the mayors’ policy roadmap for the next Congress and presidential administration comes one day after the conclusion of the 92nd Annual U.S. Conference of Mayors Annual Meeting in Kansas City, where mayors spent four days collaborating on opportunities and challenges facing America’s cities.

The national priorities cover a full range of issues impacting American cities. Among them: ensuring affordable housing for all Americans, enacting commonsense gun laws, increasing direct mental health funding for cities, expanding workforce training to meet future job demands, and protecting the environment.

Mayors have been steadfast advocates for these priorities in recent years, seeing progress in the enactment of bipartisan legislation such as the American Rescue Plan Act and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, but more work remains to be done, especially to address the current affordable housing and mental health crises.

The bipartisan group of mayors plans to carry their agenda to both Presidential and congressional candidates, calling on them to address Federal actions that impact people where they live.

“The nation’s mayors view national issues on a personal scale,” said USCM President Columbus (OH) Mayor Andrew Ginther. “As we head into another election year, mayors want to keep everyone’s eyes on the prize: thoughtful, bipartisan solutions that make a meaningful difference in individual’s lives. We want this agenda to serve as a roadmap for our work with our federal partners in the coming year.”

“Mayors get things done,” said USCM CEO and Executive Director Tom Cochran. “We are proud to be an organization that unites, rather than divides, that works to offer solutions, not more problems. Mayors are committed to advocating for more federal/local partnerships to address our country’s most pressing issues. These priorities are critical to the health of our nation.”

See full priorities below.

2024 Election Priorities for the Next Congress and Administration

In this ELECTION YEAR of 2024, as the American people elect the 119th Congress and the next President, the nation’s mayors present a bipartisan platform of national priorities for the candidates to address. U.S. Metro cities represent 90% of the nation’s GDP and more than 90% of its economic growth, standing as the powerhouse of the American economy. To ensure the continued health and prosperity of the nation, adoption of these priorities is essential.

Housing: Ensure Affordable Housing and End Homelessness

Without further delay, the next president and Congress must pass the largest and most comprehensive investment legislation in affordable housing in American history that incentivizes production, helps families buy their first home, ends homelessness, and ensures that our first responders, teachers and frontline healthcare workers can live where they work.

Public Safety: Enact Common Sense Gun Laws and Address Police Department Needs

According to the latest FBI report, crime is down thanks to our mayors and police departments. Congress must support law enforcement by enacting common sense gun safety legislation to require universal background checks, prohibit assault weapons, high-capacity magazines, and ghost guns, and raise the age for possession or purchase of guns from 18 to 21. Mayors and police chiefs call for a comprehensive federal initiative to encourage young people and others to become police officers.

Mental Health: Drive Mental Health Funding to the Local Level

Create the first-ever city mental health block grant to provide direct, flexible funding to cities for prevention, education, and intervention efforts to address the nation’s expanding behavioral health crisis. Cities are on the front lines in addressing mental health crises, often encountering individuals in urgent need of care and longer-term mental health services.

Transportation: Localize Investments to Adapt to Post-Covid Realities

The nation must revamp our federal surface transportation law by providing direct funding to cities to adapt and respond more readily to local transportation changes as a result of COVID, such as altered return to work scenarios, local commuting patterns and new transportation technologies. Today’s “more localized transportation system” requires a local decision-making framework.

Workforce: Build a Workforce for the Future – Immigration Reform

Building a future workforce means making investments in education and training as well as attracting new workers. We need to fully fund workforce development and maintain local control and flexibility in reauthorization of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). And our nation must pass visa reform as part of a comprehensive immigration package to attract and retain both the high-skilled and lower- skilled workers we need to address worker shortages.

Water and Wastewater: Provide Clean Water for All Americans

We must significantly increase federal funding to meet our nation’s commitment to deliver clean drinking water and wastewater treatment. Cities cannot bear alone the onerous cost of removing harmful contaminants, such as PFAS, lead and hazardous materials.

Climate: Fully Fund the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG)

Nearly 90% of our GDP occurs in our U.S. Metro cities, which must develop local climate action ecosystems to achieve aggressive greenhouse gas reduction goals. To meet this objective, Congress must provide dedicated, direct federal funding of $3.5 billion annually through the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant.

Immigration: Fix our Broken System

Enact comprehensive immigration reform legislation, but act immediately to address the most pressing problems, including providing funding to cities along the border and in the interior that are struggling to assist the migrants arriving in them, accelerating work authorizations, adequately funding customs and border protection and immigration courts, and providing legal status to DACA and TPS recipients and other undocumented people who have been here for many years.

2025 Tax Bill: Rewrite Tax Code to Address National Priorities

The 2017 Tax law expires in 2025: we need to replace it with new and fairer tax policies that reflect national needs in housing, mental health, public safety, the environment, and childcare. This means writing an equitable tax bill that directs investments in key domestic priorities over the next decade.

CHIPS and Science Act: Strengthen our Security and Transform our Economy

We must continue to implement and fully fund the CHIPS for America programs to improve national security and modernize our economy through transformative investments in manufacturing, research and development, and innovation.

Human Rights and Tolerance: Protect Democracy and Human Rights

Our democracy must be protected. The federal government and courts must preserve election integrity, reject extremism and all forms of bigotry, denounce all acts of hate, ensure public safety while protecting free speech and other constitutional rights, promote inclusivity and enforce civil rights laws.