Following Push from Senator Murray, Cities Across Washington State Will Continue to Receive Vital Federal Support

(Seattle, WA) –U.S. Senator Patty Murray, applauded the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) decision that the 2020 Standards will maintain the Metropolitan Statistical Areas population threshold of 50,000, ensuring that Washington state cities remain eligible for federal funding. The decision followed a letter to OMB from Senator Murray encouraging the agency not to raise the threshold. Prior to Senator Murray’s efforts, the following Washington state communities were set to fall below the minimum threshold to qualify as a Metropolitan Statistical Area: Clarkston, Longview, Mount Vernon-Anacortes, Walla Walla, and Wenatchee.

“I always say the details are important, because it’s details like this that can mean millions of dollars for cities and counties in our state,” said Senator Murray. “That’s why I pressed OMB not to change the threshold for this definition, and I’m glad they listened. For Longview, Walla Walla, Wenatchee, and other medium-sized cities in our state, I’ll keep fighting to make sure they get the federal support they need to not only get through this pandemic, but build back stronger and fairer.”

Earlier this year, the Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Area Standards Review Committee at OMB recommended that the minimum urban area population to qualify as a Metropolitan Statistical Area be increased from 50,000 to 100,000. Because of the reliance on this designation by various federal agencies and programs, this change could have resulted in the loss of significant federal funding for many small- and mid-sized counties, cities and towns across Washington state. For example, the statutory authorization for the Community Development Block Grant explicitly defines a “metropolitan area” as a standard metropolitan statistical area as established by OMB.

Read Senator Murray’s letter to OMB HERE.

As a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Murray helped secure approximately $4.427 billion for Washington state and $2.692 billion for localities within the state through the American Rescue Plan.