APWA Washington Report
February 22, 2021

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Congress Looks to Act on COVID-19 Relief Package

  • This week, the U.S. House of Representatives is expected to act on President Biden’s proposed $1.9 trillion “American Rescue Plan;”
  • The House Committee on the Budget is scheduled to meet today to compile nine (9) House Committees’ funding parameters and be used for the final House bill;
  • If the measure is adopted by the House, it will move to the U.S. Senate for consideration, which may also take place this week on the measure as passed by the House;
  • However, the Senate may seek to amend the measure before taking a vote – if amended by the Senate, the bill would then return to the House for consideration;
  • This relatively quick pace is possible following the passage of  S. Con. Res. 5, a concurrent resolution setting forth the Congressional Budget for the United States Government for fiscal year (FY) 2021 and setting forth budgetary levels for FY 2022 through FY 2030;
  • This legislative process, known as ‘reconciliation,' allows legislation to pass with a simple majority in the Senate rather than the sixty-vote threshold usually needed to overcome a filibuster. The resolution includes:
    • Outlays of $6.14 trillion in FY 2021 and revenue of $2.3 trillion, for a net deficit of $3.84 trillion;
    • Placing a cap on advance appropriations, allowing the House and Senate Budget Committee Chairs to adjust budget allocations to reflect updated baselines or changes in budget concepts.
  • If enacted, the “American Rescue Plan” would include:
    • $817 billion for the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP);
    • $15 billion for additional funds for the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program;
    • $390 million to administer the SBA’s disaster loan program;
    • $350 billion would be targeted for state, local, tribal, and territorial governments to assist with increased expenses and decreased revenues;
    • $50 billion for the Disaster Relief Fund (DRF) to fully reimburse states, localities, and tribes for critical emergency response resources;
    • $30 billion towards grants to transit agencies, which could cover operating expenses including payroll costs and purchasing personal protective equipment (PPE);
    • Approximately $10 billion toward enhancing cybersecurity and technology infrastructure.

APWA Continues to Advocate for COVID-19 Aid to State and Local Entities

  • This month, APWA has been calling upon Congress to provide at least an additional $350 billion in flexible aid for essential services and the states and local entities providing them;
  • February 1, APWA sent its own priority letter, signed by APWA President Mary Joyce Ivers and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Scott D. Grayson, CAE, to House and Senate leaders, stating, “…we strongly believe it is in the best interest of the country that Congress quickly pass relief in the amount of at least $350 billion specifically targeted to state and local governments for the purpose of replacing lost revenue caused by the COVID-19 public health and economic crisis;”
  • Just prior to the Congressional President’s Day district work period, APWA joined hundreds of state and local entities in a joint letter to Congress;
  • APWA Government Affairs needs to continue hearing from APWA members about the challenges related to COVID-19 impacting public works – please submit experiences through the APWA Tell Your Story portal, as it is truly helpful to the Association’s advocacy efforts;
  • For any questions related to APWA Government Affairs, please contact APWA Director of Government and Public Affairs Andrea Eales at aeales@apwa.net.

Intelligence Committee Chairman Asks for Answers on Water Hack

  • Last week, Senate Committee on Intelligence Chairman Mark Warner (D-VA) sent a letter to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requesting information regarding the security compromise at the water treatment plant in Oldsmar, Florida on February 5;
  • Warner requests that both agencies inform the Committee about how the system was hacked and how future attacks can be prevented;
  • The letter states that safeguards must be in place to keep drinking water safe;
  • Water and wastewater treatment facilities are designated as one (1) of sixteen (16) infrastructure sectors critical to national security under Presidential Policy Directive 21;
  • Until passage of America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018, there was no formal cybersecurity oversight of water utilities;
  • That legislation directed community water systems serving 3,300 or more customers to assess hacking risks, complete reviews to EPA, and prepare response plans;
  • In the Oldsmar case, a hacker tried to raise levels of sodium hydroxide, or lye, to over 100 times the normal concentration – an operator at the plant noticed the increase and was able to switch the levels back to normal before any lye reached the water supply.

FY 2021 DOT INFRA Grant Funding Available

  • Last week, the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) announced a notice of funding opportunity (NOFO) related to Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) program for FY 2021;
  • Applications are due by March 19, 2021 and are intended to fund projects of national and regional significance in line with Biden Administration principles to improve safety, apply transformative technology, and explicitly address climate change and racial equity.

APWA Hosting Online PFAS Session

FEMA Corps Now Accepting Applications 

  • Last week, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced it is now accepting applications for the FEMA Corps, a service program that provides 18‐24-year-old participants with the opportunity to represent communities impacted by disasters;
  • The FEMA Corps is collaborative effort between FEMA and the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) program.

FEMA Seeking Disaster Preparation Workshop Participants

  • FEMA is looking for participants for its disaster preparation stakeholder workshops, designed to identify questions that would be used to guide future FEMA research;
  • Participants will be asked to share their experience and insight into disaster preparedness, as well as offer feedback on questions that will be provided by FEMA.

FBI Releases Ransomware Fact Sheet

  • Earlier this month, the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and National Cyber Investigative Joint Task Force (NCIJTF) released a ransomware fact sheet;
  • The fact sheet was created to assist state, local, tribal, territorial governments and critical infrastructure entities better address the challenges presented by ransomware.

APWA Public Policy Priorities Twitter Fleets