APWA Washington Report
March 8, 2021


Visit APWA’s refreshed News & Media page to view current APWA news, Advocacy News items, press releases and more! Be sure to also follow @APWAGOVAFFAIRS on Twitter to stay apprised of Government Affairs information.
 
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LATEST NEWS

Senate Passes $1.9 Trillion COVID-19 Stimulus Package

  • Over the weekend, the U.S. Senate passed an amended version of H.R. 1319, the “American Rescue Plan Act”;
  • This approximately $1.9 trillion-dollar legislative package includes relief and aid to address the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic;
  • The U.S. House of Representatives passed its version of H.R. 1319 last month;
  • However, the bill as adopted by the House was subsequently amended to meet the ‘budget reconciliation’ parameters and parliamentary rules particular to the Senate;
  • This action was necessary due to a provision in the House-passed bill to increase the minimum wage nationally to $15 per hour;
  • This provision did not meet previously adopted ‘budget reconciliation' parameters through S. Con. Res. 5;
  • S. Con. Res. 5, is 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;
  • These parameters allow legislation to pass with a simple majority in the Senate rather than the sixty-vote threshold usually needed to overcome a filibuster;
  • Legislation passed under reconciliation must comply with certain budgetary rules, and the Senate Parliamentarian ruled the minimum wage increase does not comply;
  • S. Con. Res. 5 includes:
    • Outlays of $6.14 trillion in FY 2021 and revenue of $2.3 trillion, for a net deficit of $3.84 trillion;
    • A cap on advance appropriations, allowing the Chairs for the House and Senate Committees on the Budget to adjust budget allocations to reflect updated baselines or changes in budget concepts.
  • The Senate version of the “American Rescue Plan”, like the House version, includes:
    • $350 billion targeted to state, local, tribal, and territorial governments to assist with increased expenses and decreased revenues;
    • $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;
    • $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.
  • The amended measure will now go to the House, where action is expected on Tuesday;
  • The House is expected to pass the bill, and then it will go to President Biden to be signed into law.

Bipartisan Congressional Delegation Meets at White House on Infrastructure

  • Last week, a bipartisan Congressional delegation met with President Biden to discuss plans for infrastructure investment;
  • House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chair Peter DeFazio (D-OR) said after the meeting that Biden wants to “move quickly” on a “very big” bill;
  • DeFazio also stated that he does not want to use the budget reconciliation process to move the legislation;
  • Using that method would only require Democratic support for passage;
  • DeFazio says he wants to find common ground with Republican members to move a bipartisan bill;
  • House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Ranking Member Sam Graves (R-MO) warned that DeFazio should not reintroduce the infrastructure bill from last Congress;
  • That bill, H.R. 2, the Moving Forward Act, was a $1.5 trillion package that included other policy issues along with infrastructure language;
  • Graves explicitly stated that his preference would be for a more modest package that is limited to traditional infrastructure;
  • Graves also stated that inclusion of policy language related to climate change would make Republican support difficult;
  • Representative John Garamendi (D-CA), who attended the meeting, said that President Biden was “very clear that infrastructure has to be built for the future”;
  • Garamendi also said that H.R. 2 would likely be the template for the new package;
  • Graves made clear that he wants pay-fors included in any infrastructure package;
  • Members from both parties expressed interest in making the Highway Trust Fund solvent in the long-term, but specific strategies were not discussed.

House T&I Committee Bringing Back Earmarks

  • Last week House Transportation & Infrastructure (T&I) Committee Chair Peter DeFazio (D-OR) stated the Committee will include member requests as part of its surface transportation reauthorization bill;
  • The Chairman says his committee will hold a ‘Member Day’ hearing on April 14, when the Committee will receive requests from Congressional members on their specific priorities for the next reauthorization bill;
  • Member requests will need to provide:
    • Documentation the requested project is part of the respective State Transportation Improvement Plan (STIP);
    • Sources of funding support for the cost of the project, beyond the federal request;
    • Letters of support from the state department of transportation, or local government, transit agency, or another non-federal sponsor;
    • A Project timeline;
    • The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) category of action and its NEPA status;
    • Information on whether the project received federal funding previously, and the amount;
    • Certification of no financial interest on the part of the Member, spouse, nor their immediate family.
  • APWA’s priorities for Surface Transportation Reauthorization;
  • The Committee is expected to release its surface transportation reauthorization bill this spring.

APWA Participates in 2021 Future Cities Competition

  • APWA President Mary Joyce Ivers, Education Manager Rita Cassida and Government Affairs Manager Marty Williams will serve as judges during the virtual 2021 Future Cities Competition;
  • The Future Cities Competition was designed to provide students with the opportunity to showcase their cutting-edge future city designs addressing current and potential future challenges faced by those in charge of creating sustainable cities;
  • The judging will take place on March 13 and is expected to consist of over 40 submissions from teams of middle school-aged students representing schools from around the world;
  • APWA will again be sponsoring a special award this year for “Advancing Quality of Life for All”;
  • The five criteria for APWA’s award include:
    • Improving mobility;
    • Providing clean water;
    • Reducing the use of natural resources;
    • Providing public places for people to come together;
    • Providing a safer place to live work and play.
  • Additional information on the Future Cities Competition can be found here.

ASCE Releases its 2021 ‘Report Card’

  • On March 3, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) introduced its 2021 Report Card for America's Infrastructure giving U.S. infrastructure an overall grade of C-;
  • Though the overall grade improved slightly from a D+ in 2017, the long-term gap in infrastructure investment was cited as a paramount concern;
  • The investment gap is measured in how much the U.S. currently invests versus what investment is needed to get infrastructure, to a ‘state of good repair’.

EPA Seeking Nominations for Local Government Advisory Committee – Deadline April 16, 2021

  • The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is announcing a solicitation for nominations to serve on its Local Government Advisory Committee (LGAC);
  • LGAC advises the EPA on critical environmental issues impacting local governments;
  • The Agency is also accepting nominations for LGAC’s Small Communities Advisory Subcommittee (SCAS);
  • Members of the LGAC and SCAS will provide advice and recommendations on a broad range of issues, including:
    • ensuring access to clean air and water;
    • reducing greenhouse gas emissions;
    • advancing environmental justice;
    • bolstering resilience to the impacts of climate change; and
    • limiting exposure to dangerous chemicals and pesticides.
  • Candidates must be current elected or appointed officials representing local, state, tribal or territorial governments;
  • To be considered for 2021 appointments, nominations should be submitted by April 16, 2021;
  • You can read more on the nomination process in the Federal Register.

FEMA Currently Accepting Spring Nominations for Exercise Assistance

  • Last week, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced its National Exercise Division is accepting spring 2021 nominations for the National Exercise Program(NEP);
  • To assist in this effort, FEMA will host a webinar March 11 at 2:00pm ET for state, local, tribal, territorial, and other whole community partners to discuss the nomination process;
  • The NEP webinar will include information on supporting activities for conducting exercises in a pandemic environment;
  • Additional details on the webinar can be found here.

CISA Releases Guide for Public Safety on Unmanned Aircraft Systems

ON THE HORIZON