September 27, 2021

 

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LATEST NEWS

A Busy Week Ahead on Infrastructure, Continuing Resolution, & Budget Reconciliation

  • The federal FY 2021 ends this week, Sept. 30;
  • To keep the federal government fully funded and operational, Congress will need to pass a continuing resolution (CR), as no FY 2022 appropriations bills have been enacted to date;
  • Last week, the House passed a CR (H.R. 5305), to fund the federal government through Dec. 3, 2021, and it includes:
    • An extension of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)
    • $28.6 billion in emergency funds for communities and federal agencies impacted by recent hurricanes, wildfires, and other natural disasters, including:
      • $5.68 billion for the Army Corps of Engineers, $3 billion of which would be used to accelerate flood and storm risk reduction projects and $2.08 billion would be used to repair disaster-related damages
      • $2.6 billion for Transportation Department reimbursements to states and territories to repair damage to roads and bridges caused by natural disasters
      • $1.36 billion for the U.S. Forest Service to address damage caused by natural disasters
      • $1.2 billion for the Small Business Administration’s Disaster Loans Program
      • $60 million for White House expenses to fund Covid-19 operations
      • Suspension of the nation’s debt ceiling through Dec. 16, 2022
  • The Senate is expected to take a procedural vote on the House-passed CR though it is uncertain whether the Senate will be able to pass it due to disagreement about suspending the debt ceiling;
  • In addition to the CR, the House is also focused on the Senate-passed $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), which APWA supports;
  • APWA joined 109 other organizations Sept. 21 in signing a letter to all U.S. Representatives urging passage of the IIJA before the current surface transportation law expires Sept. 30;
  • APWA urges all members to use our new ‘Contact Congress’ advocacy platform, officially launched during PWX, to call for passage of the IIJA this week;
    • Text ‘PWX’ to 52886 and you will receive a text message to opt-in and then direction on how to send a message today to Congress supporting the IIJA. It’ll take just 30 seconds of your time;
  • If you prefer not to text, go to the APWA ‘Contact Congress’ page now and send Ask Congress to Pass Urgently Needed Infrastructure Legislation;
  • For awareness, the IIJA aligns with APWA public policy priorities andincludes:
    • 5-year reauthorization of surface transportation programs
    • Continues streamlining duplicative permitting processes
    • Strengthening overall resiliency of infrastructure
    • Assist efforts to strengthen the resilience of infrastructure against threats including cyberattacks and natural disasters
    • Invests in upgrading water and wastewater systems while protecting them from dangerous emerging contaminants
  • 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 is likely slipping to later this week;
  • The passage of an estimated $3.5 trillion over 10 years budget reconciliation package is also on the agenda for Congress this week;
    • The budget reconciliation 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
  • 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 both the Senate and the House are headwinds facing the budget reconciliation package;
  • 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-Passed Defense Bill Includes PFAS Provisions

  • The House passed the FY 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) Sept. 23, which included a number of provisions focused on mitigating per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS);
  • The measure was approved in a bipartisan vote of 316-113;
  • The NDAA authorizes funding for a wide range of defense programs and has been used in recent years to address PFAS contamination arising from military bases and other sources;
  • Provisions in the House-passed version of the bill include:
    • A ban on Department of Defense (DoD) procurement of PFAS-containing goods
    • The requirement that DoD and companies handling its PFAS-contaminated wastes comply with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) PFAS incineration, storage, and disposal guidance
    • Direction for the EPA to broaden the definition of PFAS for purposes of a 10-year study on PFAS usage
    • A requirement for EPA to place Safe Drinking Water Act limitations on two PFAS substances: perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS)
    • The requirement for manufacturers to disclose all PFAS discharges over 100 pounds into water
  • Next, the Senate will act on its version of the NDAA, which passed out of committee in June;
  • There will then likely be a conference committee between the House and Senate to resolve differences;
  • An exact timeline for this process is not yet known, but final passage is not expected until late October.

CISA Announces National Climate Resilience Prize Competition 

  • The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency (CISA) announced last week it will be conducting a National Climate Resilience Prize Competition;
    • Entrants are to design new approaches to better protect people at risk of heat-related illness or death during extreme weather events or in connection with other disasters
    • The competition is open to individuals who are over the age of 18 and are U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents at the time of submission, as well as to U.S. entities that are incorporated in and whose primary place of business is in the United States
  • Winners will receive cash prizes from a total pool of $195,000;
  • The deadline to apply for the Cooling Challenge is Dec. 7. Visit Challenge.gov for information about how to apply.
 

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