July 19, 2021

 

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LATEST NEWS

Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Infrastructure Update

  • This week the Senate is expected to take procedural action to begin consideration of both a fiscal year (FY) 2022 $3.5 trillion budget resolution, and infrastructure legislation based on a framework agreed to by President Biden and a bipartisan group of 22 U.S. Senators earlier this month;
  • Actual legislative text for both items is not complete, nor been made available, though Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is seeking to push the chamber to act on these items prior to the Senate’s district work period currently scheduled to begin August 9 and go until after Labor Day;
  • The bipartisan framework for infrastructure is mostly focused on surface transportation infrastructure and proposes a federal investment of between $973 billion and $1.2 trillion to include:
    • $579 billion in new funding for roads, bridges, and major projects
    • $110 billion for public transit
    • $66 billion for rail
    • $11 billion for safety programs
    • $16.3 billion for waterways and ports
    • $65 billion for broadband
    • $7.5 billion for electric vehicle infrastructure
    • $25 billion for airports
  • The legislative text for the infrastructure bill is expected to come from two bills passed out of Senate Committees, and these are the bipartisan Surface Transportation Reauthorization Act of 2021 (S. 1931) passed out of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee in late May, and also bipartisan, the Surface Transportation Investment Act (S. 2016), passed by the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee in June;
  • S. 1931 proposes $303.5 billion over 5 years to Dept. of Transportation (DOT) programs for highways, roads, and bridges and is a 34% increase over the current law;
  • S. 2016 proposes $78 billion over 5-years and addresses freight, rail, and transportation safety programs;
  • The Senate Banking Committee has jurisdiction over transit programs but has not yet considered a bill for this portion of surface transportation reauthorization;
  • The $3.5 trillion budget resolution would be over 10-years and expected to address climate, education, health care, Medicare, immigration, and taxes—the ‘human infrastructure’ as declared in President Biden’s American Jobs Plan and American Families Plan introduced earlier this year;
  • Which will go first in the Senate, an infrastructure bill, or the budget resolution is undetermined as of this drafting;
  • Support for the budget resolution is intended to be done by reconciliation so only a simple majority vote is needed for passage;
  • Democrats hold a very narrow majority in the U.S. House (220 to 211) and the Senate is evenly split 50-50, with Vice President Harris providing Democrats control as the tie-breaking vote when needed;
  • Leader Schumer has told Senators that a shortened August district work period is possible due to the heavy legislative agenda;
  • In the House, the Investing in a New Vision for the Environment and Surface Transportation INVEST in America Act (H.R. 3684) was passed July 1;
  • The INVEST in America Act, mostly surface transportation related, calls for $547 billion in federal spending over 5-years breaking down as:
    • $343 billion for roads, bridges, and safety needs
    • $4 billion for electric vehicle infrastructure
    • $8.3 billion to reduce carbon pollution
    • $6.2 billion for mitigation and resiliency improvement efforts
    • $109 billion for transit
    • $50 million a year for investment in rural communities
    • $95 billion for passenger rail
  • APWA Government Affairs continues bipartisan outreach to Congressional offices about the Association’s 117th Congress Public Policy Priorities, which are Surface Transportation Reauthorization, Water Resiliency, and Emergency Management;
  • Please contact APWA’s Director of Government and Public Affairs Andrea Eales at aeales@apwa.net with any questions about APWA’s Government Affairs activities and priorities.

APWA to Provide Testimony During Senate EPW Hearing

House Appropriations Committee Approves FY 2022 Spending Bills

  • On July 16, the House Appropriations Committee marked-up and passed its FY 2022 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (T-HUD) appropriations bill by a vote of 33-24;
  • The bill proposes the U.S. Dept. of Transportation would receive $105.7 billion in mandatory and discretionary funding in FY 2022, which is a $19 billion increase from FY 2021 and $18.7 billion higher than the White House requested as well as aligns with the transportation portions of the INVEST Act (H.R. 3684);
  • The proposed legislation also seeks to focus on reducing transportation emissions, increasing resiliency, and address historical inequities;
  • At the same hearing, the committee marked-up and passed its FY 2022 Energy and Water Development, and Related Agencies (Energy and Water)appropriations bill by a vote of 33-24;
  • This bill would provide $8.66 billion for the Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), an increase of $1.9 billion above the President’s budget request, and $1.95 billion for the Bureau of Reclamation within the Department of Interior, an increase of $276 million above FY 2021 and $413 million above the President's request;
  • The legislation includes funding for the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund at USACE and Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN), WaterSMART, and rural water projects at the Bureau of Reclamation;
  • July 15, the committee marked-up and passed its FY 2022 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS) appropriations bill, which includes funding for workforce development initiatives;
  • The bill proposes $14.7 billion in discretionary funding for the Department of Labor (DOL), an increase of $2.2 billion from FY 2021 and $400 million above the President’s budget request, and $102.8 billion in discretionary funding for the Department of Education (DOE), an increase of $29.3 billion from FY 2021 and equal to the request;
  • The House plans to pass an FY 2022 minibus appropriations measure before the August district work period, and this minibus is expected to include the T-HUD, Interior-Environment, Energy and Water, and Labor-HHS measures;
  • In the Senate, Appropriations Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) has stated Subcommittees will begin their mark-ups by the August district work period;
  • A continuing resolution will likely be needed to keep the federal government fully operational as the end of this FY, which is September 30, is quickly approaching and no FY 2022 appropriations bills have been passed and sent to the President.

House of Representatives Plans Votes on Cybersecurity Legislation

  • The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote on cybersecurity legislation this week, these measures include:
    • H.R. 3138, the State and Local Cybersecurity Improvement Act, which was introduced by Representative Yvette Clarke(D-NY), and if enacted, would require the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency (CISA) to award grants to states, territories, and tribes to combat cyberthreats affecting government information systems
    • H.R. 3223, the CISA Cyber Exercise Act, introduced by Representative Elissa Slotkin (D-MI), and if enacted, would establish a National Cyber Exercise Program within CISA that is designed to simulate cyber incidents capable of incapacitating a government or critical infrastructure network, and to assess readiness and response plans.

EPA Releases Drinking Water Contaminant Candidate List

  • July 12, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released Draft Contaminant Candidate List 5 (CCL 5);
  • This list provides an update on drinking water contaminants in public water systems that are currently unregulated by EPA;
  • These contaminants will be considered for regulations aimed at protecting public health;
  • Among 66 chemicals, 12 microbes, and three groups, CCL 5 includes as a group per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS);
  • Public works agencies around the nation have faced increasing levels of PFAS contamination, and APWA has continually worked to raise awareness of this issue with EPA and Congress;
  • Two specific PFAS chemicals, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) are excluded from the list;
  • This is due to EPA’s existing plans to establish a national drinking water standards for these contaminants;
  • EPA will be accepting comments on the Draft CCL 5 until September 17, 2021;
  • For more information and to submit comments, please see the proposed rule establishing CCL 5’s entry in the Federal Register.

DHS Releases FY 2021 Preparedness Grant Funding Allocations

  • July 16, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced the allocation of $475 million dollars towards fiscal year (FY) 2021 competitive preparedness grants;
  • Coupled with previous allocations of the approximately $1.5 billion in non-competitive grant funding announced earlier this year, the total amount for FY 2021 is almost $2 billion dollars towards hardening the nation’s infrastructure against natural and man-made disasters;
  • These grants will provide funding to state, local, tribal and territorial governments, nonprofit agencies, and the private sector to aid in safeguarding, responding to, and recovering from acts of terrorism and other disasters;
  • Funding amounts for the grants are set by Congress and the allocations are made by the DHS Secretary.

CISA Establishes New Ransomware Assistance Website

  • Last week, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency (CISA) led the federal government in launching a new website to help public and private organizations defend against the rise in ransomware cases;
  • StopRansomware.gov is a whole-of-government approach that gives one central location for ransomware resources and alerts;
  • Organizations are encouraged to use this new website to assist them in their efforts to understand the threat of ransomware, mitigate risk, and respond to attacks.

FEMA Announces 2022 Virtual Tabletop Exercise Program Schedule

  • Last week, the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Emergency Management Institute (EMI) released its 2022 schedule for the Virtual Tabletop Exercise (VTTX) Program;
  • VTTX courses will focus on three of the eight Principals’ Strategic Priorities of FEMA’s National Exercise Program:
    • Cybersecurity
    • National Security Emergencies and Catastrophic Incidents
    • Operational Coordination and Communication
  • Each VTTX session will take place over a four-hour period and will allow participants to apply the information shared to a realistic scenario in a facilitated, hazard-specific exercise discussion.

ON THE HORIZON