August 2, 2021

 

Explore APWA’s Member Advocacy Tools:

LATEST NEWS

Update on Senate Infrastructure Deal

  • Late on Sunday, bill text for a $1.2 trillion (including $550 billion in new federal spending) U.S. Senate infrastructure deal was released;
  • The bill is 2,702 pages long and is expected to be introduced in the nature of a substitute to H.R. 3684, which is the U.S. House bill number for the Investing in a New Vision for the Environment and Surface Transportation (INVEST) in America Act passed by the House last month;
  • The draft text includes the following proposed funding:
    • $110 billion for roads and bridges;
    • $50 billion for resilience and Western water infrastructure;
    • $55 billion for clean water;
    • $11 billion for road safety;
    • $39 billion for public transit;
    • $66 billion for passenger and freight rail;
    • $17 billion for electric vehicles and buses;
    • $17 billion for airports, ports and waterways;
    • $73 billion for electric grid infrastructure;
    • $65 billion for broadband;
    • $21 billion for environmental clean-up;
    • $3.5 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
    • $1 billion for state and local government cybersecurity preparedness grants
    • $21 million for the Office of the National Cyber Director, including language allowing the cyber director to declare significant cybersecurity incidents;
    • $20 million in a fund for federal, state, local and tribal governments and private entities for reimbursement and technical assistance after significant cyber incidents;
  • Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is pushing for the chamber to pass both the Senate infrastructure bill, and a fiscal year (FY) 2022 $3.5 trillion over 10 years, budget resolution prior to the scheduled district work period set to begin August 9;
  • Text for the budget resolution has not been released, though Leader Schumer is expected to have the chamber vote on it under the budget reconciliation process which only requires a simple majority for passage;
  • The FY 2022 budget resolution is expected to specifically address Democrat priorities for climate, education, health care, Medicare, immigration, and taxes—the ‘human infrastructure’ as outlined in President Biden’s American Jobs Plan and American Families Plan introduced earlier this year;
  • At this time, no Senate Republicans are expected to support the budget resolution, and it is uncertain that all 50 Senate Democrats will support it in its reported current outline;
  • The House is not in session and is not expected to return for legislative business until after Labor Day;
  • Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has stated publicly she will not hold a vote on the Senate infrastructure bill until the Senate first passes the $3.5 trillion budget resolution;
  • Following the August Congressional district work period, Congress will be faced with the end of the fiscal year which is September 30, 2021 and passing appropriations measures to keep the federal government fully funded;
  • It is highly likely a continuing resolution will be necessary to allow for more time to pass FY 2022 funding bills;
  • Further, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has told Congress the nation’s debt ceiling is again in effect as of August 1 and if it is not raised or suspended, a default may occur on October 1;
  • 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.

House of Representatives Passes Appropriations Package

  • July 29, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 4502, a package of seven appropriations bills that would provide $600 billion in funding for federal agencies for Fiscal Year 2022 (FY 2022);
  • This package includes the Transportation and Housing and Urban Development (T-HUD), Interior-Environment, and Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (Labor-HHS-Education) bills;
  • The package passed 219-208, largely along party lines with the support of the Democrat majority;
  • The legislation includes $105.7 billion in mandatory and discretionary funding in FY 2022 for the Department of Transportation, which is a $19 billion increase from FY 2021 and $18.7 billion higher than the White House request, including:
    • $61.1 billion in obligations from the Highway Trust Fund for highway projects, as well as $592 million in discretionary funds for highway infrastructure
    • $12.2 billion in obligations from the Mass Transit Account of the Highway Trust Fund for Federal Transit Administration (FTA) programs, as well as $3.34 billion in discretionary funding for FTA;
    • $1.2 billion for Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) surface transportation grants;
    • $39.4 million for cybersecurity initiatives, $17.4 million more than in fiscal 2021
  • The bill also funds the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) at $11.3 billion:
    • $3.23 billion for Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds, $464 million above the FY21 enacted level
    • $326.6 million for grants for drinking water contaminants and wastewater treatment for lead, nitrates, and other hazards, an increase of $117.5 million above the FY21 enacted level
    • $60 million for Sewer Overflow and Stormwater Control Grants, an increase of $20 million above the FY21 enacted level
    • $5 million for the Water Workforce Infrastructure grants program, an increase of $2 million from the FY21 enacted level
    • $80 million for the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program, including $5 million for the more recently created State infrastructure financing authority WIFIA (SWIFIA) program and $8 million for administrative expenses, a total increase of $15 million above the FY21 enacted level
    • $61.8 million in new funding to help establish drinking water and cleanup standards for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS)
    • $248 million for Environmental Justice activities, an increase of $235 million above the FY 21 enacted level
  • Finally, the bill provides funding for the Department of Labor (DOL) and Department of Education (DOE):
    • $14.7 billion for DOL, $2.18 billion more than FY 2021;
    • This includes $11.6 billion for the Employment and Training Administration (ETA), and would restrict apprenticeship funds from being used on Industry Recognized Apprenticeship Programs (IRAPs);
    • $102.8 billion for DOE, an increase of $29.3 billion from FY 2021;
    • This includes $2.2 billion for career and technical education
  • The House is now in recess, and is expected to take up additional FY 2022 appropriations bills including funding for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) after Labor Day;
  • With the Senate just beginning its markup process for FY 2022 appropriations, a continuing resolution will likely be needed to keep the government funded past September 30, 2021.

President Biden Signs Memorandum to Improve Cybersecurity for Critical Infrastructure

  • Last week, President Biden signed a National Security Memorandum (NSM) titled “Improving Cybersecurity for Critical Infrastructure Control Systems”;
  • While not rising to the level of an Executive Order (EO), the announcement from the President includes measures and language designed to harden the nation’s critical infrastructure against potential cyber intrusions;
  • Last month, APWA Government Affairs Committee member Evan Pratt and Water Resources Commissioner for Washtenaw County Michigan, provided testimony before the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works;
  • Commissioner Pratt’s testimony included APWA’s recommendations for the federal government to provide additional safeguards for protecting the nation’s critical infrastructure from cyber intrusions.

Senate Republicans Introduce Legislation to Uphold WOTUS Rule

  • July 29, Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW) Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), along with a number of her Republican colleagues, introduced legislation aimed at codifying the 2020 Navigable Waters Protection Rule (NWPR);
  • This rule, issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under then-President Donald Trump, redefined the legal meaning of ‘waters of the United States’ (WOTUS) for purposes of regulation under the Clean Water Act;
  • President Biden’s administration has announced its intent to repeal the NWPR and issue its own WOTUS rule;
  • More information on this bill can be found here.

U.S. EPA and Army Announce Community Engagements on WOTUS

  • July 30, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Department of the Army (Army) announced their intent to hold community engagement sessions regarding WOTUS;
  • These sessions will serve as opportunities for the public to provide comments on how EPA and the Army can best craft a new definition of WOTUS;
  • In the announcement, the agencies also reiterated their intent to utilize two separate rulemaking processes – the first would repeal the Navigable Waters Protection Rule (NWPR) and return the WOTUS definition to the definition in place before 2015;
  • The second will establish a new definition of WOTUS;
  • The sessions will take place at the times below:
    • August 18, 2021 from 3-5 pm ET
    • August 23, 2021 from 1-3 pm ET
    • August 25, 2021 from 3-5 pm ET (for small entities)
    • August 26, 2021 from 6-8 pm ET
    • August 31, 2021 from 3-5 pm ET
  • For more information and to register, please see EPA’s website.
 

ON THE HORIZON