APWA Washington Report – February 27, 2017

February 27, 2017

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LATEST NEWS

The House and Senate return to D.C. this week following the President’s Day district work period. Both chambers are scheduled to be in session for the next six weeks. 

Update on Trump Administration Confirmations

  • A vote is scheduled in the Senate today on the nomination of Mr. Wilbur Ross to be Commerce Secretary;
  • Also today, the Senate has scheduled a vote on the nomination of Representative Ryan Zinke (R-MT) to be Interior Secretary;
  • The next two nominations up for a vote in the Senate are on Dr. Ben Carson to be Secretary for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and former Governor of Texas Rick Perry to be Energy Secretary;
  • A Senate Intelligence Committee hearing is scheduled for February 28 on the nomination of former Senator Dan Coats of Indiana to be the next Director of National Intelligence;
  • The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on March 20 on the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to fill the current Supreme Court vacancy.

Secretary Chao Speaks to Governors about Infrastructure

  • Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao spoke to the National Governors Association (NGA) yesterday and focused her comments on the challenges ahead in paying for infrastructure investment;
  • Secretary Chao stated that public-private partnerships will be one tool but “not the answer for everything” and she also stressed the need for innovation, as well as education of the public;
  • President Trump is meeting with the Governors today at the White House.

EPA Agenda Release Soon

  • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt is expected to release the agency’s agenda later this week;
  • It is anticipated that the Administrator’s agenda will include rollbacks in greenhouse gas and water regulations, including Waters of the U.S.

ON THE HORIZON

  • President Trump will address a joint session of Congress on Tuesday, February 28 at 9:00 pm ET and is expected to layout his agenda including infrastructure investment, tax reform, building a southern border wall, and a myriad of other issues that were hallmarks of his campaign;
  • The Trump Administration is also working on its proposed fiscal year 2018 budget said to be released in the near future with expectations being that the President will propose a significant increase in defense spending, cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency and the State Department, and an overall focus on economic growth, jobs production, and regulatory relief;
  • On February 28 at 2:00 pm ET, the House Homeland Security Committee has scheduled the second of a two-part hearing on the future of the Federal Emergency Management Agency titled “Stakeholder Recommendations for the Next Administration Part II”: click here to follow the hearing;
  • The Senate Environment & Public Works Committee has a hearing scheduled for March 1 at 10:30 am ET titled “Flood Control Infrastructure: Safety Questions Raised by Current Events”; click here to follow the hearing;
  • The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation has a hearing scheduled for March 1 at 10:00 am ET titled “Connecting America: Improving Access to Infrastructure for Communities across the Country”: click here to follow the hearing.