APWA – Washington Report – March 25, 2019

March 25, 2019 Share:
To stay informed about happenings on Capitol Hill please be sure to follow APWA Government Affairs on Twitter @APWAGOVAFFAIRS and check Advocacy News on www.apwa.net.
LATEST NEWS
APWA Committees Heading to DC
• On April 3-4, APWA’s Government Affairs Committee (GAC) will be holding its annual spring advocacy meeting in Washington, D.C.;
• This year two of APWA’s technical committees, Water Resources and Emergency Management, will also join the GAC in D.C.;
• During the two days in D.C., the committees, APWA board liaisons to the three committees, and APWA staff will be meeting with key Congressional committees and federal agency representatives where APWA participants will advocate for APWA’s public policy priorities – Transportation, Water Resiliency, and Emergency Management and Response;
• Additionally, APWA will also be participating in Water Week 2019 next week;
• Water Week brings together water professionals from across the country to advocate for the needs of drinking water and clean water utilities;
• Among the priorities that are being advocated for this year are:
o Increasing the FY2020 Clean Water SRF appropriation and reauthorizing the program;
o Funding the Drinking Water SRF at the fully authorized level of $1.3 billion in FY2020;
o Funding the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program at or above its fully authorized level of $50 million in FY2020;
• To learn more about Water Week 2019, please contact APWA Government Affairs Manager Sean Garcia.
APWA Joins State & Local Groups Advocating for Tax Exempt Bonds
• On March 20, APWA and 25 other state and local advocacy groups who are part of the Public Finance Network (PFN) coalition, sent a joint letter to House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA) and Ranking Member Kevin Brady (R-TX) urging continued support for tax exempt bonds for infrastructure financing;
• The House Ways and Means Committee held a hearing earlier this month to examine financing options for our country’s infrastructure needs;
• In the above linked letter, PFN members specifically called upon the Ways and Means Committee to:
o Maintain the tax-exemption for all municipal securities;
o Reinstate the ability for governments and other qualifying entities to advance refund tax-exempt municipal bonds;
o Allow for additional bond programs to enhance infrastructure funding;
o Make technical changes to the tax code that will facilitate the issuance of tax-exempt bonds, among other actions helpful to infrastructure financing;
• In recent weeks, APWA has been highlighting infrastructure focused hearings held in both chambers focused on financing options, defining infrastructure, and the timing of an infrastructure package.
WOTUS Comment Deadline Remains April 15
• The Trump Administration announced that it will not extend the comment period on the proposed “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) rule, and the deadline to submit comments will remain April 15;
• Last month, the Administration issued a proposed rule for WOTUS which would overwrite a more stringent rule written by the Obama Administration in 2015;
• The Trump Administration has dropped an appeal to delay implementation of the 2015 rule while they wrote a new rule that argues the Clean Water Act (CWA) should only apply to major rivers, their primary tributaries, and wetlands along their banks;
• House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee Chairwoman Grace Napolitano (D-CA) called for the Administration to reconsider an extension;
• Both members, along with 160 other Democratic House members, issued a letter last month asking the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineers to reconsider;
• Thirty-six Democratic Senators signed a similar letter;
• Under the new proposed rule, CWA jurisdiction would be removed for tens of thousands of miles of streams and millions of acres of wetlands;
• After the comment period, the agencies will be required to revise the proposed rule, and make public a final rule;
• The Trump Administration has stated that it plans to release the final rule in November 2019;
• APWA will be submitting comments on the proposed rule;
• If you have questions or comments, please contact APWA Government Affairs Manager Sean Garcia.
President Requests $51.7 Billion for DHS
• As outlined in the March 11 APWA Washington Report, the President has released his proposed budget for fiscal year (FY) 2020;
• Last week, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen provided additional details on the President’s DHS budget request;
• Of note, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) would receive $28.5 billion, which includes $19.4 billion for the Disaster Relief Fund (DRF), and $2.3 billion for grants to assist state, local, tribal, and territorial governments;
• Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) would receive $1.3 billion which would include programs covering cybersecurity and infrastructure security protection and safeguards;
• The request does however decrease funding for Emergency Management Preparedness Grants (EMPG) to $2.4 million for FY 2020 from the $3.3 million that was appropriated for FY 2018;
• FEMA EMPG grants can be used to assist state, local, tribal, and territorial governments for the purpose of providing a system of emergency preparedness for the protection of life and property from hazards;
• To view a copy of DHS Secretary Nielsen’s memo with additional details, please click here.
Congress Continues Work on Disaster Relief Measure
• The Senate and House are expected to move a disaster relief package before the end of this week;
• The House of Representatives passed H.R. 268, the Supplemental Appropriations Act for 2019, which provided approximately $14.2 billion in disaster funds;
• H.R. 268, although not passed by the Senate, is expected to serve as the vehicle for the upcoming bill;
• To view a copy of H.R. 268 as passed by the House, please click here.
White House Releases Proposal with Changes to NFIP
• Last week, the White House released a plan to make changes to FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP);
• The plan titled “Risk Rating 2.0” would impact policies for most homeowners who own property in flood-prone areas, and potentially raise rates on more expensive properties and those in higher-risk areas;
• The goal is to publish the new rates by April 2020, taking effect on October 1, 2020;
• Rates for the current 1.6 million NFIP policyholders residing in multifamily homes, condos, or residential properties will not change;
• For additional information on the Risk Rating 2.0, please click here.
FEMA Announces Changes to Rule impacting Individual Assistance for a Major Disaster
• FEMA last week announced a revised rule that would impact factors considered when evaluating a Governor’s request for Individual Assistance (IA) for a major disaster;
• The rule, which will go into effect on June 1, 2019, is designed to reduce delays in the major disaster declaration process by decreasing the multiple communications between states and FEMA;
• To view the revised rule, please click here.
FEMA Announces Retroactive Payments on IHP
• Last week, FEMA announced that it is processing retroactive payments to roughly 12,000 applicants who reached or exceeded the Individuals and Household Program (IHP) financial limit for all declared disasters on or after August 1, 2017;
• IHP provides financial help or direct services to those who have necessary expenses and serious needs if they are unable to meet the needs through other means;
• Eligible applicants may receive additional funds due to the increased amount of assistance under the new law, which includes additional home repair, personal property, and transportation funds;
• For additional details, please click here.
CISA Releases Paper on IoT Safety Concerns
• CISA has released a paper detailing cybersecurity concerns on the Internet of Things (IoT);
• The paper highlights important aspects of cybersecurity in an IoT environment, including the need for a comprehensive review of the standardized protocols and proprietary mechanisms connecting devices to and through the internet;
• To read the CISA IoT paper, please click here.
NEMA/IAEM Release Grant Report
• The National Emergency Management Association has released a report on the Emergency Management Performance Grant program which includes information highlighting the importance of these grants;
• To view the report, please click here.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Releases National Inventory of Dams Report
• Last week, the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers (USACE) released their National Inventory of Dams (NID) list;
• The NID, first published in 1975, provides hazard ratings for the nation’s approximately 45,000 dams;
• Major changes to the 2019 NID includes allowing users to download or export certain NID data, and view the hazard potential classifications;
• For additional information and to view a copy of the inventory list, please click here.
ON THE HORIZON
• March 26 at 10:00 am EDT, the House Committee on Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight & Investigations has scheduled a hearing titled, “The Administration of Disaster Recovery Funds in the Wake of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria” – for more information, please click here;
• March 26 at 10:00 am EDT, the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing focused on investment in airport infrastructure – for more information, please click here;
• March 26 at 11:00 am EDT, the House Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing & Urban Development is scheduled to hold its member day hearing on FY 2020 appropriations – for more information, please click here;
• March 27 at 9:45 am EDT, the House Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy & Water has scheduled a hearing on the US Army Corps of Engineers and Bureau of Reclamation Budget for Fiscal Year 2020 – for more information, please click here;
• March 27 at 10:00 am EDT, the Senate Appropriations Committee’s Transportation, Housing & Urban Development Subcommittee is scheduled to hear from U.S. DOT Secretary Chao about the President’s FY 2020 budget proposal for transportation – for more information, please click here;
• March 27 at 10:15 am EDT, the House Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science & Related Agencies has scheduled a hearing titled, “The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Budget Request for Fiscal Year 2020” – for more information, please click here;
• March 27 at 10:15 am EDT, the House Committee on Education & Labor Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Investment is scheduled to hold a hearing on innovations to expand registered apprenticeship programs – for more information, please click here;
• March 28 at 10:00 am EDT, the Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works has scheduled a hearing titled, “Examining the federal response to risks associated with PFAS” – for more information, please click here.


LATEST NEWS
APWA Committees Heading to DC
• On April 3-4, APWA’s Government Affairs Committee (GAC) will be holding its annual spring advocacy meeting in Washington, D.C.;
• This year two of APWA’s technical committees, Water Resources and Emergency Management, will also join the GAC in D.C.;
• During the two days in D.C., the committees, APWA board liaisons to the three committees, and APWA staff will be meeting with key Congressional committees and federal agency representatives where APWA participants will advocate for APWA’s public policy priorities – Transportation, Water Resiliency, and Emergency Management and Response;
• Additionally, APWA will also be participating in Water Week 2019 next week;
• Water Week brings together water professionals from across the country to advocate for the needs of drinking water and clean water utilities;
• Among the priorities that are being advocated for this year are:
o Increasing the FY2020 Clean Water SRF appropriation and reauthorizing the program;
o Funding the Drinking Water SRF at the fully authorized level of $1.3 billion in FY2020;
o Funding the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program at or above its fully authorized level of $50 million in FY2020;
• To learn more about Water Week 2019, please contact APWA Government Affairs Manager Sean Garcia.
APWA Joins State & Local Groups Advocating for Tax Exempt Bonds
• On March 20, APWA and 25 other state and local advocacy groups who are part of the Public Finance Network (PFN) coalition, sent a joint letter to House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA) and Ranking Member Kevin Brady (R-TX) urging continued support for tax exempt bonds for infrastructure financing;
• The House Ways and Means Committee held a hearing earlier this month to examine financing options for our country’s infrastructure needs;
• In the above linked letter, PFN members specifically called upon the Ways and Means Committee to:
o Maintain the tax-exemption for all municipal securities;
o Reinstate the ability for governments and other qualifying entities to advance refund tax-exempt municipal bonds;
o Allow for additional bond programs to enhance infrastructure funding;
o Make technical changes to the tax code that will facilitate the issuance of tax-exempt bonds, among other actions helpful to infrastructure financing;
• In recent weeks, APWA has been highlighting infrastructure focused hearings held in both chambers focused on financing options, defining infrastructure, and the timing of an infrastructure package.
WOTUS Comment Deadline Remains April 15
• The Trump Administration announced that it will not extend the comment period on the proposed “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) rule, and the deadline to submit comments will remain April 15;
• Last month, the Administration issued a proposed rule for WOTUS which would overwrite a more stringent rule written by the Obama Administration in 2015;
• The Trump Administration has dropped an appeal to delay implementation of the 2015 rule while they wrote a new rule that argues the Clean Water Act (CWA) should only apply to major rivers, their primary tributaries, and wetlands along their banks;
• House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee Chairwoman Grace Napolitano (D-CA) called for the Administration to reconsider an extension;
• Both members, along with 160 other Democratic House members, issued a letter last month asking the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineers to reconsider;
• Thirty-six Democratic Senators signed a similar letter;
• Under the new proposed rule, CWA jurisdiction would be removed for tens of thousands of miles of streams and millions of acres of wetlands;
• After the comment period, the agencies will be required to revise the proposed rule, and make public a final rule;
• The Trump Administration has stated that it plans to release the final rule in November 2019;
• APWA will be submitting comments on the proposed rule;
• If you have questions or comments, please contact APWA Government Affairs Manager Sean Garcia.
President Requests $51.7 Billion for DHS
• As outlined in the March 11 APWA Washington Report, the President has released his proposed budget for fiscal year (FY) 2020;
• Last week, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen provided additional details on the President’s DHS budget request;
• Of note, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) would receive $28.5 billion, which includes $19.4 billion for the Disaster Relief Fund (DRF), and $2.3 billion for grants to assist state, local, tribal, and territorial governments;
• Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) would receive $1.3 billion which would include programs covering cybersecurity and infrastructure security protection and safeguards;
• The request does however decrease funding for Emergency Management Preparedness Grants (EMPG) to $2.4 million for FY 2020 from the $3.3 million that was appropriated for FY 2018;
• FEMA EMPG grants can be used to assist state, local, tribal, and territorial governments for the purpose of providing a system of emergency preparedness for the protection of life and property from hazards;
• To view a copy of DHS Secretary Nielsen’s memo with additional details, please click here.
Congress Continues Work on Disaster Relief Measure
• The Senate and House are expected to move a disaster relief package before the end of this week;
• The House of Representatives passed H.R. 268, the Supplemental Appropriations Act for 2019, which provided approximately $14.2 billion in disaster funds;
• H.R. 268, although not passed by the Senate, is expected to serve as the vehicle for the upcoming bill;
• To view a copy of H.R. 268 as passed by the House, please click here.
White House Releases Proposal with Changes to NFIP
• Last week, the White House released a plan to make changes to FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP);
• The plan titled “Risk Rating 2.0” would impact policies for most homeowners who own property in flood-prone areas, and potentially raise rates on more expensive properties and those in higher-risk areas;
• The goal is to publish the new rates by April 2020, taking effect on October 1, 2020;
• Rates for the current 1.6 million NFIP policyholders residing in multifamily homes, condos, or residential properties will not change;
• For additional information on the Risk Rating 2.0, please click here.
FEMA Announces Changes to Rule impacting Individual Assistance for a Major Disaster
• FEMA last week announced a revised rule that would impact factors considered when evaluating a Governor’s request for Individual Assistance (IA) for a major disaster;
• The rule, which will go into effect on June 1, 2019, is designed to reduce delays in the major disaster declaration process by decreasing the multiple communications between states and FEMA;
• To view the revised rule, please click here.
FEMA Announces Retroactive Payments on IHP
• Last week, FEMA announced that it is processing retroactive payments to roughly 12,000 applicants who reached or exceeded the Individuals and Household Program (IHP) financial limit for all declared disasters on or after August 1, 2017;
• IHP provides financial help or direct services to those who have necessary expenses and serious needs if they are unable to meet the needs through other means;
• Eligible applicants may receive additional funds due to the increased amount of assistance under the new law, which includes additional home repair, personal property, and transportation funds;
• For additional details, please click here.
CISA Releases Paper on IoT Safety Concerns
• CISA has released a paper detailing cybersecurity concerns on the Internet of Things (IoT);
• The paper highlights important aspects of cybersecurity in an IoT environment, including the need for a comprehensive review of the standardized protocols and proprietary mechanisms connecting devices to and through the internet;
• To read the CISA IoT paper, please click here.
NEMA/IAEM Release Grant Report
• The National Emergency Management Association has released a report on the Emergency Management Performance Grant program which includes information highlighting the importance of these grants;
• To view the report, please click here.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Releases National Inventory of Dams Report
• Last week, the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers (USACE) released their National Inventory of Dams (NID) list;
• The NID, first published in 1975, provides hazard ratings for the nation’s approximately 45,000 dams;
• Major changes to the 2019 NID includes allowing users to download or export certain NID data, and view the hazard potential classifications;
• For additional information and to view a copy of the inventory list, please click here.
ON THE HORIZON
• March 26 at 10:00 am EDT, the House Committee on Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight & Investigations has scheduled a hearing titled, “The Administration of Disaster Recovery Funds in the Wake of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria” – for more information, please click here;
• March 26 at 10:00 am EDT, the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing focused on investment in airport infrastructure – for more information, please click here;
• March 26 at 11:00 am EDT, the House Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing & Urban Development is scheduled to hold its member day hearing on FY 2020 appropriations – for more information, please click here;
• March 27 at 9:45 am EDT, the House Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy & Water has scheduled a hearing on the US Army Corps of Engineers and Bureau of Reclamation Budget for Fiscal Year 2020 – for more information, please click here;
• March 27 at 10:00 am EDT, the Senate Appropriations Committee’s Transportation, Housing & Urban Development Subcommittee is scheduled to hear from U.S. DOT Secretary Chao about the President’s FY 2020 budget proposal for transportation – for more information, please click here;
• March 27 at 10:15 am EDT, the House Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science & Related Agencies has scheduled a hearing titled, “The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Budget Request for Fiscal Year 2020” – for more information, please click here;
• March 27 at 10:15 am EDT, the House Committee on Education & Labor Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Investment is scheduled to hold a hearing on innovations to expand registered apprenticeship programs – for more information, please click here;
• March 28 at 10:00 am EDT, the Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works has scheduled a hearing titled, “Examining the federal response to risks associated with PFAS” – for more information, please click here.