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FY 2019 Appropriations Update
Congressional Republicans may combine the seven remaining unfinished spending bills into a single package in the coming weeks;
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby (R-AL) met with President Trump recently at the White House to discuss the potential package;
President Trump has indicated that he would not sign any spending bill which does not include funding for a southern border wall;
Both McConnell and Shelby appeared optimistic that a government shutdown will be avoided;
House Appropriators have also indicated that they may include other bills in the spending package, including an extension of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) currently set to expire on November 30, and the farm bill;
Last month, President Trump signed H.R. 6157, which funds the Departments of Defense, Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education;
To date, in addition to the departments included in H.R. 6157, President Trump has signed Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 appropriations to fund Energy and Water, the Legislative Branch, and Military Construction-Veterans Affairs;
The remaining federal government departments, whose FY 2019 appropriations have not been passed by Congress, will be funded at FY 2018 levels through December 7 by a continuing resolution (CR) included in H.R. 6157;
The House has set a target adjournment date of December 13, while the Senate has targeted December 14;
Funding the government for the remainder of FY 2019 may be one of the last acts of the 115th Congress, prior to Democrats taking control of the House in January 2019.
President Signs Legislation Modifying DHS Cyber Agency
On November 16, President Trump signed the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Act of 2018 into law, following passage by the Senate and House earlier this year;
Now known as Public Law No: 115-278, the measure along with formerly changing the name of the former Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD) to CISA, establishes three divisions which will cover Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Security and Emergency Communications within the newly named agency;
For additional information and to view text of the law, please click here.
House Plans Vote to Reauthorize National Earthquake Program
This week, under suspension of the rules, the House is expected to vote on S. 1768, the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program Reauthorization (NEHRP) Act of 2017, originally introduced by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), and previously passed by the Senate in September;
If enacted, the legislation would amend the NEHRP Act of 1977 by expanding activities to include the gathering information on community resilience, publishing a systematic set of maps of active faults and folds, liquefaction susceptibility, susceptibility for earthquake-induced landslides, and other seismically induced hazards;
Additionally, the measure would continue the development of the Advanced National Seismic System, which provides earthquake early warning capabilities;
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has released their National Preparedness Report;
The report provides an evaluation of the progress and challenges faced by individuals and communities, private and nonprofit sectors, faith-based organizations, and all levels of government must face in preparation for disasters and emergencies;
President Trump recently announced that he would nominate Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler for the full-time job;
Wheeler was named Acting Administrator of the Agency after the resignation of Scott Pruitt in July;
Wheeler was confirmed by the Senate earlier this year as Deputy Administrator, but will need another confirmation for this position;
It is unclear when the Senate would hold confirmation hearings;
Wheeler has continued to focus the Agency on rewriting regulations, including the Clean Power Plan and the Waters of the United States (WOTUS).
DHS OIG Report on FEMA Oversight of IPAWS
Last week, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) released their report on FEMA’s oversight of the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS);
IPAWS aggregates alert and warning messages from federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial authorities, also known as alerting authorities;
The information is then distributed to the public via radio and television broadcasts, cellular phone messages, and internet applications;
The major finding, as detailed in the report, includes the OIG assessment that although FEMA maintains IPAWS as a messaging platform, state and local alerting authorities must obtain commercially-available emergency alert software to generate a message which passes through IPAWS for authentication and delivery;
The Director of the Office of Groundwater and Drinking Water (OGWDW) at the EPA, Dr. Peter Grevatt, has announced his retirement;
Dr. Grevatt, who has been at EPA in a variety of positions for the past 30 years, is set to leave by the end of 2018;
Dr. Grevatt has been involved in a variety of drinking water issues recently, including Harmful algal Blooms in Lake Erie, lead contamination in Flint, MI, and recent work done by the agency on PFAS substances;
There has not been any announcement regarding his replacement.
DHS Seeking Comments on First Responder Community of Practice
DHS is requesting input on the First Responders Community of Practice (FRCoP), which is a web-based tool used to compile profile information from first responders and select authorized non-first responder users to facilitate networking and formation of online communities;
If you wish to submit comments to APWA, please send them to Government Affairs Manager Marty Williams on or before December 6;
If you wish to submit comments directly to DHS, the deadline is December 17;
To review the proposal, and for information to submit comments directly, please click here.
FCC Seeking Comments on Hurricane Michael Preparation and Response
The Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau is seeking comments on the Hurricane Michael Preparation and Response;
The FCC is specifically looking for recommendations on actions they should consider for improving their response to disasters;
If you wish to submit comments to APWA, please send them to Government Affairs Manager Marty Williams on or before December 7;
The deadline to submit comments directly to the FCC is December 17;
To view the FCC request for comments and for additional details including how to submit comments directly, please click here.
FEMA Announces Risk MAP Guidelines and Standards 2018
FEMA is accepting comments on announced planned changes to Risk MAP standards;
FEMA maintains guidelines and standards to support the Risk Mapping, Assessment and Planning (Risk MAP) Program;
These guidelines and standards define the specific implementation of the statutory and regulatory requirements for NFIP;
If you wish to submit comments to APWA, please send them to Government Affairs Manager Marty Williams on or before December 2;
If you wish to submit comments directly to FEMA, the deadline is December 7;
For additional information on the proposed changes and submitting comments, please click here.
APWA Participating in FirstNet Panel
On Tuesday, at 3:15 pm ET, Government Affairs Manager Marty Williams will participate in a panel discussion during the Federal P3 Conference;
The panel, which will also include Michael Newburn of AT&T, will focus on the use of public private partnerships or P3’s and how they may assist first responders;
The two-day Federal P3 Conference will emphasize how P3’s can be employed to improve infrastructure delivery and discuss methods to bring public property into better condition;
For additional information, including a copy of the conference agenda, please click here.
FEMA Releasing PrepTalk Featuring APWA Member Phil Mann
FEMA plans to release the September 6 PrepTalk presentation from APWA member Phil Mann on December 4;
PrepTalks, which began this past January, are a partnership of the emergency management community including FEMA, the International Association of Emergency Managers, the National Emergency Management Association, the National Homeland Security Consortium, and The Naval Postgraduate School Center for Homeland Defense and Security;
For additional information on the PrepTalk, please click here.
ON THE HORIZON
November 28, at 10:00 am ET, the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee has scheduled a hearing on addressing America’s surface transportation needs – click here for more information;
November 29, at 10:30 am ET, the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee has scheduled a hearing on the nomination of Alexandra Dunn to be Assistant Administrator of EPA – click here for more information.