July 9, 2018
FY 2019 Appropriations Update
- This week, Congress returns from its July 4 holiday recess and has a full plate of legislation to be considered as the clock ticks down to the upcoming August district work period;
- The Senate is scheduled to be in session during August, but the House is on schedule to recess as is typical for the month of August;
- Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 officially ends September 30, and to date one FY 2019 appropriations measure (HR 5895) has been passed by both chambers, but has not been conferenced yet, nor sent to President Trump for his signature;
- HR 5895 is a “minibus” bill in that it contains spending for three appropriations bills – Energy and Water, Military Construction, and the Legislative Branch;
- The House has also passed its FY 2019 Defense appropriations bill;
- This week, the House is preparing a second “minibus” of spending bills for floor action;
- This package will include the FY 2019 Financial Services and Interior-Environment appropriations bills;
- The Interior-Environment bill is flat-funded compared to current spending levels;
- The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would see a decrease of $100 million in funding;
- However, individual programs within the EPA which would receive increased funding under the bill:
- Clean Water State Revolving Fund – $1.544 billion (+$150 million);
- Drinking Water State Revolving Fund – $1.013 billion (+$150 million);
- Water Infrastructure Finance Innovation Act (WIFIA) – $70 million (+$50 million);
- Brownfields grants – $80 million (+18 million);
- As the appropriations clock ticks down to September 30 with a Supreme Court nomination to now be considered by the Senate, and the upcoming November Congressional midterm election, a continuing resolution (CR) to fund the federal government past the end of September is looking very likely.
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt Resigns
- Last week, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt resigned;
- Pruitt has faced numerous questions from both political parties about potential ethical lapses since he took office in 2017;
- President Trump tweeted that he had accepted the resignation and praised Pruitt, saying, “Within the Agency Scott has done an outstanding job, and I will always be thankful to him for this”;
- Deputy Administrator Andrew Wheeler, who was confirmed by the Senate earlier this year, will assume the duties of Acting Administrator;
- It is unclear whether the President will nominate Wheeler as the full-time Administrator of the Agency;
- Since taking office, Pruitt has focused the Agency on rewriting regulations, including the Clean Power Plan and the Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS).
CEQ Accepting Comments on NEPA Procedural Provisions
- The White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) is seeking comments on the procedural provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA);
- CEQ is considering potential revisions to update and clarify NEPA regulations, specifically, revisions to update and clarify the NEPA process and the scope of NEPA review;
- The greater degree of specificity in the comments, the more beneficial the input will be to the process;
- This would include providing specific recommendations on additions, deletions and modifications to the text of CEQ’s NEPA regulations and justifications;
- To view the request in full, click here;
- If you wish to submit comments, please send those to APWA Government Affairs Manager Marty Williams on or before July 16;
- You may also submit comments directly to CEQ electronically, citing docket number CEQ-2018-0001 at https://www.regulations.gov.
House to Vote on Non-Federal Infrastructure Title Transfers
- Under suspension of the rules, the House is scheduled to consider H.R.3281, the Reclamation Title Transfer and Non-Federal Infrastructure Incentivization Act, introduced by Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO);
- If enacted, the bill would authorize the Secretary of the Interior to facilitate the transfer of non-Federal ownership of appropriate reclamation projects or facilities;
- This would include a reclamation project or facility, or a portion of such a project or facility (which may include dams and appurtenant works, infrastructure, recreational facilities, buildings, distribution and drainage works, and associated lands or interests in lands or water) that meets the criteria for potential transfer established through this legislation;
- To view text of H.R. 3281, click here.
DHS Seeks Comments on Nationwide Cybersecurity Review Assessment
- The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is seeking comments on the Nationwide Cybersecurity Review Assessment (NCRA);
- The NCRA allows State, Local, Territorial and Tribal governments to manage cybersecurity related risks through the National Institute of Standards and Technology Cybersecurity Framework;
- Comments submitted will assist DHS in making determinations on what, if any, changes may be warranted to the NCRA;
- You may submit comments to APWA Government Affairs Manager Marty Williams, on or before August 28;
- The deadline to submit comments directly to DHS is September 4;
- To view the request for comments on the NCRA, click here.
DHS to Provide Cyber Protection for Mobile Phones
- Last week, DHS’s Science and Technology Directorate (S&T), charged with the security and resilience of the nation’s critical information infrastructure and the internet, announced the transition to a new and enhanced mobile phishing and content protection Mobile Endpoint Security platform;
- This new platform, available for Android and iOS users, offers enhanced endpoint and mobile phishing protections;
- Along with detecting phishing attempts in SMS messages, the platform also detects and prevents attacks that hide inside mobile apps, social media messages and in personal and corporate email;
- Additionally, the phishing protection system will alert the user in real-time if the connection is harmful, preventing exposure to risky content such as malicious apps or websites with known vulnerabilities;
- For additional information, click here.
- As previously mentioned in the June 18 edition of the Washington Report, the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau (PSHB) is requesting comments on the Wireless Network Resiliency Cooperative Framework (NRCF) in an effort to assess its efficiency;
- The NRCF is a voluntary industry commitment to promote resilient wireless communications and situational awareness during disasters;
- You may submit comments to APWA Government Affairs Manager Marty Williams by July 12;
- The deadline to submit comments directly to the FCC, citing docket number PS-11-60, to the FCC is July 16;
- To review the NRCF, click here;
- To view the FCC release with additional information on this announcement, click here;
- Additionally, the FCC will be meeting on July 11 to discuss the Emergency Alert System and Wireless Emergency Alerts pertaining to the prevention of false emergency alerts, and expanding flexible use of the 3.7 to 4.2 GHz Band;
- For additional details and to view the FCC meeting agenda, click here.
ON THE HORIZON
- July 11 at 10:00 am ET, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation is scheduled to hold a hearing titled “Complex Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities: Lessons Learned from Spectre and Meltdown” – click here for more information;
- July 11 at 10:00 am ET, the House Transportation & Infrastructure’s Subcommittee on Aviation is scheduled to hold a roundtable on Countering Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) Issues – click here for more information;
- July 11 at 10:00 am ET, the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing on the long-term value to U.S. taxpayers of low-cost federal infrastructure loans – click here for more information;
- July 11 at 10:30 am ET, the House Committee on Homeland Security is scheduled to hold a hearing titled “DHS’s Progress in Securing Election Systems and Other Critical Infrastructure” – click here for more information;
- July 12 at 10:00 am ET, the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing to examine interstate delivery networks for natural gas and electricity –click here for more information;
- July 12 at 10:00 am ET, the House Committee on Homeland Security Subcommittee on Counterterrorism & Intelligence and Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness Response & Communication are scheduled to hold a joint hearing on protecting the homeland security supply chain – click here for more information.