November 15, 2021

*** Due to the Thanksgiving holiday there will be no APWA Washington Report November 22. The next edition will be sent November 29. APWA Government Affairs wishes everyone a wonderful and safe holiday. ***

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President Biden to Sign Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act Today

  • This afternoon at 3 p.m. ET, President Biden is scheduled to sign the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and APWA’s CEO Scott D. Grayson, CAE, will be in attendance representing APWA;
  • Late on Friday, Nov. 5, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the bipartisan bill clearing it to become law;
  • The Senate passed IIJA in August, and APWA has been a strong supporter of the legislation as it aligns well with APWA’s 117th Congress Public Policy Priorities;
  • Specifically, the IIJA will provide:
    • A 5-year authorization of surface transportation programs
    • $550 billion in new federal funding for infrastructure priorities
    • 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
  • President Biden has tapped former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu to oversee implementation of IIJA;
  • APWA Government Affairs appreciates the actions taken by APWA members to use our recently launched ‘Contact Congress’ legislative action alert platform urging Congress to pass the bill;
  • Click here to use APWA’s ‘Contact Congress’ platform to send a message of thanks for passage of the IIJA.
  • Both chambers will be in session this week and the House is expected to continue consideration of President Biden’s Build Back Better (BBB) Act;
  • In addition to BBB, the federal government is operating under a continuing resolution (CR) that expires Dec. 3;
  • To date, no FY 2022 appropriations bills have been passed so another short-term CR will be needed to allow Congress more time to complete appropriations, which likely will be split into one or two large omnibus measures;
  • The nation’s debt ceiling also will need to be raised in the coming weeks, though the Treasury Department has shared it can delay default into late January or even February;
  • The federal government’s FY 2022 began on Oct. 1;
  • Contact APWA’s Director of Government and Public Affairs Andrea Eales at with any questions about APWA’s Government Affairs activities and priorities.

Senate to Vote on Defense Bill with PFAS Provisions

  • Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) announced the Senate is expected to vote this week on the S. 2792, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022, which currently includes provisions focused on mitigating per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS);
  • The NDAA authorizes funding for a wide range of defense programs and has been used in recent years to address PFAS contamination from military bases and other sources;
  • Provisions currently in the Senate bill include:
    • Directs the Department of Defense (DOD) to establish a PFAS Task Force
    • Requires DOD to publicly disclose results of PFAS testing conducted on military installations
  • The bill may see additional amendments before receiving a final vote;
  • If it passes the Senate, a conference committee will need to resolve differences with the House-passed NDAA, which was previously covered in the Sept. 27 Washington Report;
  • Timing for a finalized bill to head to the President’s desk remains unclear, but is currently expected before the end of 2021.

REMINDER: Comments on CEQ’s Proposed NEPA Revisions Due Nov. 22

  • Comments on the Council on Environmental Quality’s (CEQ) proposed revisions to National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) regulations are due Monday, Nov. 22;
  • NEPA, signed into law in 1970 by President Nixon, requires federal agencies to assess the environmental impacts of major infrastructure projects before approval;
  • CEQ issues regulations defining NEPA procedures, which are then implemented by other federal agencies through their own rulemakings;
  • In 2020, CEQ, under President Trump, issued the first significant revisions to NEPA’s enacting regulations since 1978, aimed at modernizing and streamlining the process;
  • APWA issued comments on these revisions in March 2020:
    • APWA expressed overall support for the revisions’ efforts to streamline permitting processes and avoid duplicative regulations
    • APWA opposed the removal of cumulative environmental impacts from consideration in reviews
  • CEQ’s latest revisions plan to undo certain aspects of the 2020 changes in a ‘Phase 1’ rulemaking that will:
    • Allow agencies to base the ‘purpose and need’ for Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) on factors other than the applicant’s goals.

FEMA Updates 2021 Community Resilience Exercise Resource Guide

  • The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) released updates last week to its the Long-Term Community Resilience Exercise Resource Guide;
  • This guide offers recommendations and providesinformation about:
    • Understanding risk, assessing current capabilities, and identify preparedness gaps and other needs via future planning
    • Additionally, the guide is designed to aid in planning and conducting scenario-based exercises.

FEMA Releases Hazus Loss Library

  • FEMA announced the release of the Hazus Loss Library last week;
  • The library includesstandardized tools and data for estimating risk from disasters including earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, and hurricanes;
  • The models employed by Hazus combine expertise from several disciplines to provide risk information that’s designed to increase community resilience.

National Apprenticeship Week Begins

  • Nov. 15-21 is National Apprenticeship Week (NAW), a time dedicated to showcasing the success of registered apprenticeships in developing the workforce and providing economic opportunity;
  • Apprenticeships are an important tool in ensuring a skilled public works workforce, as outlined in APWA’s Policymaker Primer on Workforce Development;
  • Throughout the week, employers, educators, government leaders, and others will be hosting events across the country to celebrate. More information can be found on the Department of Labor’s (DOL) website.

Nov. 15 is America Recycles Day

  • The 24th anniversary of this national day of awareness, sponsored by Keep America Beautiful, recognizes the impact of recycling and encourages individuals to consider ways to recycle more;
  • Did you know? In 1960, the national recycling rate was less than 7 percent; today, it is approximately 32 percent;
  • A 2019 EPA study found that recycling and reuse activities account for roughly 681,000 jobs and $37.8 billion in wages, many of which employ public works professionals;
  • Public works professionals around the nation manage a vast array of recycling systems, mostly at the local community level.

On the Horizon

(all times Eastern, unless otherwise noted)