APWA – Washington Report – February 12, 2018

February 12, 2018                                     Share:    

*There will not be an APWA Washington Report published on February 19 due to the Congressional district work period February 19-23. The next edition will be published on February 26. Please check Advocacy News on the APWA homepage for legislative updates.

Be sure to follow @APWAGovAffairs on Twitter.

LATEST NEWS

Congress Passes a Two-Year Budget Deal

  • Early Friday morning, after a few hours-long partial government shutdown, President Trump signed legislation to enact a two-year budget deal;
  • The agreement raises spending levels for both defense and domestic programs;
  • The bill passed late last Thursday night in the Senate by a vote of 71-28, and early Friday morning in the House by a 240-186 vote;
  • Federal discretionary spending will be raised by about $300 billion over the next two years, with slightly less than half going to domestic programs;
  • The bill specifically calls for spending $20 billion over the next two years on infrastructure to include surface transportation, rural water and wastewater, clean and safe drinking water, rural broadband, and energy projects;
  • A continuing resolution (CR) was also approved to keep funding at current fiscal year 2017 levels through March 23, and to allow time for fiscal year 2018 appropriations measures to be completed;
  • Included in the two-year budget agreement is $89.3 billion in new federal disaster aid for those states and territories impacted in recent months by hurricanes, flooding and wildfires.

President Releases Infrastructure Plan

  • Today President Trump released his long-awaited plan to generate $1.5 trillion in infrastructure investment;
  • The proposal calls for allocating $200 billion in direct federal funding over the next ten years;
  • Half of that amount is proposed to go toward incentives to encourage states, localities, and the private sector to raise and spend their own funds;
  • One quarter of the amount is proposed to go towards block grants for states to target rural infrastructure;
  • APWA Government Affairs will be providing more details this week in Advocacy News on the President’s fiscal year 2019 budget proposal and the infrastructure plan, please check back regularly at www.apwa.net.

GAC Wraps up Busy Week in D.C.

  • The APWA Government Affairs Committee (GAC) was in Washington, D.C. last week for their annual meeting which included sessions with federal agencies and Congressional committees and offices;
  • The GAC met with representatives from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), FirstNet, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE);
  • The GAC concluded their time in D.C. with a site visit to the National Weather Service (NWS) Headquarters in Silver Spring, MD, during which APWA participants were able to witness the morning stand-up brief and meet with Director Louis Uccellini.

President Trump Nominates Permanent NPPD Chief

  • Mr. Christopher Krebs, currently serving as the Acting Secretary of the National Protection and Program Directorate (NPPD), was nominated by President Trump to serve as the head of the agency last week;
  • The NPPD’s chief function is to collaborate with federal, state, local, tribal, international, and private-sector partners in protecting the nation’s physical and cyber critical infrastructure and key resources from terrorist attacks, natural disasters, and other catastrophic incidents;
  • Mr. Krebs’ appointment is pending Senate confirmation, with hearing dates yet to be determined.

States Sue Over Rule to Delay WOTUS Implementation

  • Eleven states, led by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, have sued the Trump Administration over the recently finalized rule delaying implementation of Waters of the United States (WOTUS);
  • The lawsuit alleges the administration violated federal law by acting without considering scientific evidence in support of the rule;
  • Previously, several states had sued the Obama Administration to stop the 2015 rule from being implemented;
  • Those lawsuits were vacated by the Supreme Court in January of this year;
  • Prior to the Supreme Court action, the EPA and the USACE finalized a rule to delay implementation of WOTUS until 2020;
  • The Trump Administration has been seeking to rescind and rewrite the overall WOTUS rule;
  • APWA most recently submitted comments on clarifying WOTUS last fall.


ON THE HORIZON

  • February 13 at 10:00 am ET, the Senate Budget Committee has a hearing scheduled on the President’s FY19 Budget Request – click here for more information;
  • February 14 at 10:00 am ET, the House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Digital Commerce & Consumer Protection has scheduled a hearing on oversight of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration – click here for more information;
  • February 14 at 10:00 am ET, the House Budget Committee has a hearing scheduled on the President’s FY19 Budget Request  – click here for more information;
  • February 14 at 10:30 pm ET, the Senate Finance Committee has a hearing scheduled on the President’s FY19 Budget Request – click here for more information;
  • February 14 at 2:00 pm ET, the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water Power & Oceans has scheduled a hearing on the nation’s water and power infrastructure – click here for more information;
  • February 14 at 10:00 am ET, the Senate Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee has scheduled a hearing to markup legislation to amend the Homeland Security Act of 2002 and make certain improvements in the laws administered by the Secretary of Homeland Security – click here for more information;
  • February 15 at 10:00 am ET, the House Ways & Means Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing on the President’s FY19 budget request – click here for more information;
  • February 15 at 10:00 am ET, the House Transportation & Infrastructure Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines & Hazardous Materials has scheduled a hearing on positive train control implementation – click here for more information.