November 1, 2021

 

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LATEST NEWS
 

FAST Act Extended to Dec. 3—Contact your U.S. Rep. now to Pass the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act!


  • A third extension of the current 2015 surface transportation law, the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, was passed by Congress last week to allow continued spending from the Highway Trust Fund and authorization of surface transportation programs;
  • The extension is necessary as Democrats continue negotiations over President Biden’s proposed $1.75 trillion social spending plan related to priorities for climate, taxes, education, healthcare, immigration, and more;
  • Known as the Build Back Better (BBB) Act (H.R. 5376), President Biden and Democratic leaders in the House and the Senate are tying the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), passed by the Senate in August, to H.R. 5376 and want the two measures to pass the House in tandem;
  • APWA supports IIJA as this bipartisan bill proposes funding and authorization for multiple APWA public policy priorities including:
    • A 5-year authorization of surface transportation programs
    • $550 billion in new federal funding for transportation
    • Continuing streamlining duplicative permitting processes
    • Strengthening overall resiliency of infrastructure to include protection against natural disasters and cyberattacks
    • Investing in upgrading water and wastewater systems while protecting them from dangerous emerging contaminants
  • If negotiations allow, the House could consider IIJA this week and APWA urges all members to use our new ‘Contact Congress’ advocacy platform to push for passage of the IIJA immediately;
  • Please take a minute to text ‘PWX’ to 52886 and receive a text message to opt-in and assist you in sending a message today to Congress supporting IIJA;
  • If you prefer not to text, please go to the APWA ‘Contact Congress’ page now and send Ask the House to Pass Urgently Needed Infrastructure Legislation, or call the U.S. Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 to be connected to the office of your U.S. Representative and leave a message in support of IIJA;
  • In addition to activity related to IIJA and the BBB reconciliation package, Congress needs to pass all FY 2022 appropriations bill and raise the nation’s debt ceiling by Dec. 3, 2021;
  • Currently, the federal government is operating under a continuing resolution, H.R. 5305, in effect through Dec. 3;
  • Leadership for House and Senate committees on appropriations are expected to meet this week to discuss a path forward on FY 2022 funding;
  • The federal government’s FY 2022 began on Oct. 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;
  • 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 Plans Votes on Cybersecurity, Emergency Management Bills

  • The U.S. House of Representatives, this week is planning to vote, under suspension of the rules, on the following cybersecurity and emergency management legislation:
    • H.R. 1917, the Hazard Eligibility and Local Projects Act, introduced by Rep. Lizzie Fletcher (D-TX), allowing entities requesting assistance through a hazard mitigation assistance program to be eligible to obtain assistance for certain projects already in progress
    • H.R. 3709, the Preliminary Damage Assessment Improvement Act of 2021, introduced by Rep. John Katko (R-NY), to require the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to submit a report to Congress on preliminary damage assessments, and improve the assessment process as needed
    • H.R. 4513, the Small Business Advanced Cybersecurity Enhancements Act of 2021, introduced by Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL), to authorize the creation of enhanced cybersecurity assistance and protections for small businesses
    • H.R. 4515, the Small Business Development Center Cyber Training Act of 2021, introduced by Rep. Andrew Garbarino (R-NY), to require the Small Business Administration (SBA) to create a certification program at small business development centers. If approved, at least 5 percent or 10 percent of the total number of employees of a small business development center would provide cybersecurity planning assistance to small businesses.

FEMA Seeking Comments on NFIP Updates

  • Reminder that FEMA issued a request for comments last month on revisions and updates of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) flood plain management standards;
  • NFIP standards have not seen substantial modifications since 1976;
  • In addition to public input on recommendations to protect homes from flood damage, information is being sought on how to better safeguard the habitats and populations of endangered and threatened species;
  • To submit comments, include the Docket ID-FEMA-2021-0024 when providing comments through the Federal eRulemaking Portal;
  • The deadline to submit comments is Dec. 13, 2021.

FEMA Responds to National Advisory Council’s 2020 Report (REWORK)

  • FEMA released its response last week to the “National Advisory Council's (NAC) Report to the FEMA Administrator;”
  • 2020 was the first time the NAC members addressed specific areas of concern related to emergency management, as opposed to broader, less clearly defined topics;
  • The NAC report and the response from FEMA emphasize four main areas:
    • Equity
    • Outcomes
    • Coordination
    • What Works
  • NAC is comprised of up to 35 members, including a diverse cross-section of officials, emergency managers, and emergency responders from state, local, tribal, and territorial governments, the private sector, and non-governmental organizations;
  • The NAC’s mission is to provide guidance and recommendations to the FEMA administrator on all aspects of emergency management.

White House Issues Proclamation for National Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience Month

FEMA Announces Initial Initiatives to Advance Climate Change Resilience

  • FEMA announced initiatives last week to advance climate change adaptation and promote disaster risk reduction and community resilience nationally;
  • The initiatives will be incorporated into the stakeholder engagement process to assist in developing FEMA’s 2022-2026 Strategic Plan;
  • The initiatives were developed by the Climate Adaptation Enterprise Steering Group, which is co-chaired by leadership from FEMA’s Office of Response and Recovery, Office of Resilience and the 10 FEMA regions throughout the nation.

Crash Responder Safety Week is November 8-14

  • Crash Responder Safety Week (CRSW), which recognizes all traffic incident management (TIM) response communities – including public works – will be recognized Nov. 8 to 14;
  • APWA is a member of the Executive Leadership Group for TIM and as part of this effort sponsored by the Federal Highway Administration, APWA works with many partners in law enforcement, towing, fire, EMS, and emergency communications at the national level to improve safety and training traffic incident responders in proper TIM practices and coordination;
  • Activities and events will be hosted throughout CRSW to include a kick-off webinar Nov. 8 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. ET. Please register here to participate;
  • Be sure to follow APWA’s support related to CRSW through @APWAGOVAFFAIRS and check regularly for updates;
  • APWA has been involved in TIM education and training at the federal level since 2015. Our participation is yet another way in which public works professionals serve as first responders and work every day to protect public health and safety;
  • For questions related to APWA’s involvement in TIM and CRSW, contact Andrea Eales, Director of Government and Public Affairs at aeales@apwa.net.
 

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