U.S. Sen. Markey (center) and his staff meet with the MMA and municipal leaders on Feb. 4 to discuss passage of federal funding for cities and towns. Joining Sen. Markey are (clockwise from top left) Stephanie Martinez-Ruckman of the National League of Cities, MMA Executive Director Geoff Beckwith, New Hampshire Municipal Association Executive Director Margaret Byrnes, Markey aides Karlee Popken, Jim Cantwell and Jeremy D’Aloisio, and MMA President Adam Chapdelaine.

U.S. Sen. Ed Markey and members of New England’s congressional delegation are working to secure direct federal funding for cities and towns in the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill making its way through Congress.

On Feb. 4, Sen. Markey met with MMA leaders to strategize on passage of $350 billion in state and local assistance, one of dozens of meetings between municipal leaders and congressional offices throughout the nation coordinated by the National League of Cities.

As part of the NLC’s annual “fly-in” to Washington, D.C., held virtually this year due to the pandemic, MMA President Adam Chapdelaine, MMA Executive Director Geoff Beckwith, and officials from the NLC and the New Hampshire Municipal Association met with Sen. Markey, who underscored his commitment to direct federal aid to shore up local budgets and preserve essential services. Markey said that funding for communities across Massachusetts is essential to ensure a swift economic recovery in the Bay State and across the country.

Later that day, Markey and his colleagues in the Senate voted to approve a process known as “reconciliation” to provide for a coordinated legislative path that allows both branches of Congress to fast-track President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 relief package. Under reconciliation, the Senate can now enact the legislation with 51 votes, instead of the usual 60-vote requirement to move bills forward. Congressional leaders are hoping to complete the committee review process and vote on the package in March.

In addition to the meeting with Sen. Markey, Chapdelaine and Beckwith held discussions with top aides to U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren, Jeanne Shaheen (NH) and Maggie Hassan (NH), and U.S. Representatives Katherine Clark (MA), Jake Auchincloss (MA), and Annie Kuster (NH).