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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

U.S. cities are planning to spend the money allotted to them under the American Rescue Plan — the COVID-19 stimulus package enacted in March — primarily on housing and local economic support, according to a new analysis.

Why it matters: The analysis — provided first to Axios by the Bloomberg Center for Public Innovation at Johns Hopkins University — gives a sense of the priorities that cities are setting as they figure out how to "build back better" locally.

Driving the news: Tuesday, we wrote about the brand new Bloomberg Center for Public Innovation, which will train current and future civic leaders and study best policy practices for cities.

Wednesday, the program released the first results from its ongoing study of how 20 midsize cities across the country are planning to use their funds from the American Rescue Plan, or ARP (not to be confused with the $1.2 trillion infrastructure plan that President Biden signed Monday).

  • 16 of the 20 cities plan to allocate some ARP funds to address housing insecurity. These include "Safe Rest Villages” for homeless residents in Portland ($16 million) and help for veterans who are vulnerable to homelessness in Phoenix ($4.5 million).
  • 16 of 20 plan to funnel ARP funds directly to supporting local businesses. 
  • 13 of the 20 will use the money to expand community internet access.
  • 9 of the 20 cities will put dollars toward addressing food inequity.
  • 7 of 20 have allocated ARP funds to mental health support.

[The cities are: Alexandria, Virginia; Atlanta; Austin, Texas; Detroit; Hartford, Connecticut; Kansas City, Missouri; Little Rock, Arkansas; Madison, Wisconsin; Manchester, New Hampshire; Memphis, Tennessee; Minneapolis; Morgantown, West Virginia; Phoenix; Portland, Oregon; Sacramento, California; Seattle; Stockton, California; Syracuse, New York; Trenton, New Jersey; and Wichita, Kansas.]

Go deeper

Tina Reed, author of Vitals
Dec 6, 2021 - Health

U.S. announces $400M for global COVID vaccine distribution

USAID administrator Samantha Power. Photo: by Thierry Monasse/Getty Images

The U.S. will invest an additional $400 million toward COVID-19 vaccination distribution efforts, such as bolstering cold chain infrastructure and supporting delivery, USAID administrator Samantha Power announced Monday.

Why it matters: While the problem of COVID-19 vaccine supply across the world is starting to ease in some places, the logistics of getting the vaccine in arms has emerged as a major bottleneck.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Congressional leaders clinch support for crucial defense bill, debt limit votes

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer passes waiting reporters on Tuesday. Photo: Eric Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Congress has found a shortcut to pass its annual defense funding bill and raise the debt limit.

Driving the news: The House voted Tuesday night on two major bills — one creating a one-time, fast-track process for the Senate to raise the debt ceiling with just 51 votes, and another passing its annual defense bill.

House passes annual defense bill

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The House voted to pass the annual defense bill 363-70 on Tuesday night, authorizing nearly $770 billion in funding for defenses and national security programs.

Why it matters: The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) still has to clear the Senate, but the House passage greatly increases the chances that the must-pass defense bill will move through both chambers of Congress before the end of the year.