Author Archive

Kery Murakami

Kery Murakami

Senior Reporter

Kery Murakami is a senior reporter covering Congress and federal agencies for Route Fifty. A longtime reporter, he has covered state, city and county governments, as well as transportation, at newspapers like the Seattle Times, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and Newsday. In Washington, D.C, he has covered federal policy areas including broadband, healthcare and higher education.
Kery Murakami is a senior reporter covering Congress and federal agencies for Route Fifty. A longtime reporter, he has covered state, city and county governments, as well as transportation, at newspapers like the Seattle Times, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and Newsday. In Washington, D.C, he has covered federal policy areas including broadband, healthcare and higher education.
Management

Federal permitting hampers climate goals and natural disaster mitigation, counties say

Officials, who are calling for reforms, say environmental regulations shouldn’t lead to yearslong waits to build transmission lines or impede their ability to respond to natural disasters.

Management

County officials lobby for internet subsidies

The FCC is currently turning away hundreds of thousands seeking assistance. If Congress doesn’t soon approve more funding, rural and urban county officials warn, millions will be plunged into “digital darkness.”

Management

Counties want more money for elections. Washington is unlikely to provide it.

“I just don't want anybody to walk out of here thinking that all of a sudden a massive flow of funds is going to come forward,” a House committee chairman told county officials.

News

House passes bipartisan tax bill

The measure restores some of the popular expanded child tax credit, as well as a credit that helps states build affordable housing.

Tech

Could the feds withhold broadband funding to some states?

Several states appear unwilling to change laws on their books that are at odds with a requirement in the 2021 infrastructure law.

Management

State workers fear federal grants won’t reach many disadvantaged communities

Amid historic federal investment in climate and environmental initiatives, employees tasked with distributing federal grants say they are overwhelmed and don’t have the bandwidth to ensure underresourced communities get the help they need.

Management

House proposes slashing $4B from the EPA

The GOP funding cuts, passed along party lines, would significantly impact state and local efforts to improve drinking water and reduce water pollution. Additional cuts would severely hamper environmental justice projects.

Oversight

How more than $600M in COVID relief funds awarded last year went unreported

The problem is even bigger this year, according to the Government Accountability Office. The lack of reporting makes it difficult to track fraud, waste and abuse.

Management

The federal government has more than 8,000 vacant properties. Why aren’t they being used to house the homeless?

A 2016 law says unused federal properties should be turned over to help the homeless. But a complex process and bureaucratic requirements are making that nearly impossible.

Oversight

COVID Aid Appears Safe from a Republican Clawback

The House GOP debt limit proposal would dramatically reduce spending and increase SNAP work requirements, but it would not take back the pandemic relief funds already in governments’ hands.

Oversight

In Preview of Debt Limit Fight, House Republicans Target Climate Funds

A House Environment subcommittee voted to claw back $27 billion from President Biden’s climate law, signaling what the GOP may demand in future budget negotiations.

Oversight

The House Republican Plan to Slash One of Democrats’ Signature Laws

Lawmakers set to lead key committees when the GOP takes control of the chamber say they are looking at ways to drain funding from climate initiatives and other Inflation Reduction Act programs.

Management

Puerto Rico Storm Victims Report Waits of Over 5 Hours on Calls to FEMA

Long hold times contacting the Federal Emergency Management Agency are just one challenge emerging as the nation responds to Hurricane Fiona, which swamped the commonwealth last month, along with Hurricane Ian’s devastating hit to Florida.

Oversight

Manchin Drops Push to Overhaul Energy Infrastructure Permitting

West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin wanted to speed environmental approvals for projects like power plants and pipelines. But he couldn’t muster the votes to tie his proposal to legislation needed to keep the federal government open.

Oversight

Senate Approves Democrats' Sweeping Climate and Health Bill

The legislation would unlock billions in new grants for states and local governments. But some lament its lack of help on housing and other issues. It will next go to the House.