September 20, 2021

 

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LATEST NEWS


Update on Infrastructure and Budget Reconciliation Package


  • House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) shared the House legislative agenda for the next two weeks this past Friday, which includes a vote on an infrastructure bill the week of Sept. 27;
  • In addition to voting on infrastructure, other “must pass” priorities include:
    • A continuing resolution (CR) expected to go to early December to keep the federal government fully operating until FY 2022 appropriations measures can be enacted as FY 2021 ends Sept. 30
    • Suspending or raising the debt ceiling
    • Passing the estimated $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package
  • The $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package is over 10-years and is intended to address climate, education, health care, Medicare, immigration, and taxes – the “human infrastructure” – as declared by President Biden in his American Jobs Plan and American Families Plan introduced earlier this year;
  • Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) previously made an agreement with moderate members in her caucus that the infrastructure bill will be voted on in the House by Sept. 27, though that date may slip;
  • The current surface transportation law (Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act) expires Sept. 30 and, thus, a short-term extension will likely be needed and could be included in a CR;
  • The ultimate size of the budget reconciliation package, agreement on how to pay for it, the scope of the programs included, and the very thinly divided partisan breakdown in the Senate and the House are challenges facing the budget reconciliation package;
  • As a reminder, prior to the August Congressional district work period, the Senate passed its Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, and (in early July) the House passed its Investing in a New Vision for the Environment and Surface Transportation INVEST in America Act (H.R. 3684);
    • Both of these measures are heavily focused on surface transportation programs and reauthorization while also including investments in water infrastructure and some emergency management provisions;
  • APWA Government Affairs continues bipartisan outreach to Congressional offices about the APWA’s 117th Congress Public Policy Priorities, which are Surface Transportation Reauthorization, Water Resiliency, and Emergency Management;
  • 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 Issues Comments to EPA and USACE on WOTUS Rule Changes

  • APWA submitted regulatory comments to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Sept. 17 on their plans to revise rules defining which “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) are subject to Clean Water Act (CWA) regulations;
    • As background, the Trump administration repealed a 2015 WOTUS rule and issued the Navigable Waters Protection Rule (NWPR), which defined WOTUS more narrowly and exempted an increased number of waters from regulation;
    • In June, President Biden’s EPA and USACE announced their intent to repeal the NWPR and issue a new rule defining WOTUS, with EPA Administrator Michael Regan stating, “After reviewing the Navigable Waters Protection Rule as directed by President Biden, the EPA and Department of the Army have determined that this rule is leading to significant environmental degradation;”
  • In August, EPA and USACE announced a series of community engagement sessions on WOTUS and issued a request for written pre-proposal recommendations;
  • APWA issued the comments in response to this request, urging continued regulatory certainty for public works in the new WOTUS rule;
    • The comments ask that EPA and USACE keep provisions of NWPR that provided clarity on jurisdiction over ditches and stormwater systems in the new rule;
    • The comments also reiterate three areas of concern APWA previously expressed regarding NWPR, and request that EPA and USACE address them in the new rule;
  • These areas are:
    • Permitting uncertainty;
    • Assumptions regarding cooperative federalism;
    • Additional costs for water providers and water customers;
  • APWA will continue to speak out on behalf of public works professionals as the WOTUS rulemaking continues and more details emerge regarding EPA and USACE’s specific plans;
  • The Sept. 17 comments, as well as other letters and communications to Congress and federal agencies, can be found on APWA’s website;
  • For any questions regarding WOTUS or APWA’s advocacy on water resiliency issues, contact APWA Government Affairs Manager Michael Altman at maltman@apwa.net or (202) 218-6727.

APWA Launches New Advocacy Platform – Get Involved!

  • APWA has launched an exciting new platform that allows you to be actively and directly involved in advocating on behalf of public works – right from your cell phone;
  • The platform enables APWA to send text alerts to you, keeping you engaged on important issues impacting public works;
  • You can opt in using our latest action alert, a message urging Congress to pass critical surface transportation reauthorization and water infrastructure legislation;
  • To opt in for future text alerts, fill out a short form, check the “Send me text messages about this campaign” box, and send the email;
  • You will then receive a text asking you to confirm the opt-in;
  • You can also opt in directly via text, simply text ‘PWX’ to 52886 now.

FEMA Releases National Preparedness Report

  • FEMA released its 2020 National Preparedness Report (NPR) last month, which provides asummary of progress made, and impediments that remain, in building and maintaining the capabilities needed to prevent, protect against, mitigate, respond to, and recover from the threats, hazards, and incidents that pose the greatest risk to the nation;
  • The annual report offers recommendations to all levels of government, the private and nonprofit sectors, and the general public about preparedness designed to support program priorities, resource allocation, and actions that can create more resilient communities;
    • The NPR is a requirement of the Post-Katrina Emergency Management Reform Act of 2006 and the analysis in the 2020 report is based on data available as of Dec. 31, 2019.

FEMA Announces Final Rule on Hazard Mitigation Assistance Programs

 

ON THE HORIZON