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1/11

Capitol Insider - September

September 2022



Congress Returns For A Month

WRDA Facing Final Action This Month

FY2023 Approps Passage After Elections? Or Next Year?

DOT Pause In 'Buy America' Provision Expires Nov. 10

Confusion Remains In Fed Contractor Covid Mandate

Elections and NUCA/PAC: Going Strong Since 1976

Second Session, 117th Congress Schedule

NUCA Official Letters To Congress

Sign Up For NUCA Advocacy Alerts!

Join NUCA's Government Affairs Committee

Congress Returns For A Month

Lawmakers returned to Washington on Sept. 12 to wrestle with a White House request for $47.1 billion in emergency supplemental funds and the need to pass a stopgap continuing resolution (CR) spending bill to avoid a partial government shutdown on Oct. 1.

 

The CR under discussion in the House would extend spending at roughly fiscal 2022 levels to Dec. 16. The House is planning to consider the CR the week of Sept. 12th.

 

An unresolved question is whether to attach permitting legislation sought by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), which would accelerate the federal approval of energy projects and the completion of a natural gas pipeline running from Virginia to West Virginia.

 

 

House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-MD) in August left open the possibility of attaching permitting legislation to the funding bill but stopped short of endorsing the idea.

 

The Manchin proposal also could go forward as a stand-alone bill, or it's possible Democrats agree to put off consideration until after the election. 

WRDA Facing Final Action This Month

The Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) continues its steady passage through Congress this month, emphasizing the importance Congress continues to place on infrastructure development. 

 

The bill returns to the House to be reconciled with the House version that was passed in June. The Senate approved their version in July. A conference committee is expected to report out the bill after Congress returns in September to face the final series of House/Senate votes before it is sent to the President. NUCA supports both bills and looks forward to the passage of the final legislation in a timely manner. 

 

The Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee estimated their version of the bill to deliver $55 billion of resources to 30 projects. Congress has a goal of passing a WRDA bill every two years since 2014, delivering certainly to project planning requirements for these U.S. Corps of Engineers projects. More about WRDA is found here.

FY2023 Approps Passage After Elections? Or Next Year?

If Congress punts a CR until Dec. 16 it would give House and Senate appropriations chairmen plenty of time to strike a deal after the midterm elections on funding levels and policy riders. The lawmakers would write an omnibus bill to cover the remainder of the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2023. But it's unclear if Congressional leaders and lawmakers will have the stomach for a complex negotiation involving thousands of pages of legislation in a lame duck session after the midterms. 

 

A delay in FY2023 appropriations bills would also delay the second-year funding levels for the 2021 core infrastructure law's projects. For example, the USDOT bill provides $106.6 billion, about $2 billion more than the FY2022 levels. Funding for major investments in clean water, including $2.8 billion for the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds, would also be affected by a delay.

 

If Republicans take back one or both chambers, they may insist on simply delaying the issue into the new year with a longer-term stopgap extension. It also may not be clear what the outcome of Senate control will be until after Dec. 6 if the Georgia race goes to a runoff, which could leave little time for a burst of legislative action before lawmakers wrap up the 117th Congress.

DOT Pause In 'Buy America' Provision Expires Nov. 10

Challenges in sourcing American construction materials, coupled with continued supply-chain issues and industry concerns, pushed USDOT earlier this spring to temporarily suspend President Biden's Build America, Buy America (BABA) requirements. 

 

The core infrastructure law signed last November included a provision that imposes Buy America requirements for construction materials. The materials list includes stone, sand or gravel, non-ferrous binding agents, plastic- and polymer-based products, glass, lumber and drywall. The relevant Buy America requirements became effective on May 14, 2022. However, USDOT temporarily suspended those requirements when it issued its 180-day waiver on May 19, 2022. The waiver is slated to expire November 10, 2022.

 

USDOT released a formal "Request for Information" in late July asking for industry answers to 16 product and construction material categories affected by the BABA requirements. Many NUCA members responded to our own request for this information, which sought to centralize the answers to the government's response. Through the actions of our government affairs team, our industry's answers were submitted by the August 12, 2022 deadline. NUCA, along with many other stakeholders, is now awaiting the Administration's response and further action. More here.

Confusion Remains In Fed Contractor Covid Mandate

NUCA released a statement on Sept. 8 urging a nationwide injunction be issued by a higher federal court to stop nationwide enforcement of the federal government's mandatory Covid-19 vaccine requirement, after the 11th Circuit issued a confusing decision on a lawsuit.

 

“NUCA supports a broader reach for this injunction. Our industry believes a nationwide injunction on Executive Order 14042 is needed for all companies working on federal contracts. Half the states are still affected by this executive order, leading to confusion over enforcement within broad multi-state contracts," said Doug Carlson, NUCA Chief Executive Officer.

 

The U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals partially reinstated on August 27 President Biden’s vaccine mandate for federal contractors, reversing a nationwide injunction levied by a federal judge in December 2021. But that ruling, paired with litigation in other ongoing cases, effectively meant the vaccine mandate became valid again in 25 states. The Administration said it would not enforce the mandate.

 

“The court’s move to vacate the nationwide injunction is going to lead to more confusion and litigation. There are larger issues that should be considered by the courts, including past decisions leaving public health care decisions to the states and not the federal government. The fifty state governments are better equipped to handle their citizen’s jobsite safety and health emergencies than a broad federal authority. If this case moves forward, a nationwide injunction on this ill-advised executive order should be immediately issued by the U.S. Supreme Court," argued Carlson. More here.

Elections and NUCA/PAC: Going Strong Since 1976

NUCA's Political Action Committee, NUCA/PAC, is your strong voice on Capitol Hill - supporting pro-infrastructure policies, and defending your business against harmful laws and regulations that can affect your bottom line.

 

NUCA/PAC enables the American utility construction industry to approach vital public policy issues by helping to elect like-minded Members of Congress. 

 

Get engaged in the process by authorizing NUCA/PAC to share information with you and your employees. However, Federal law requires NUCA/PAC to first obtain your written permission to solicit your voluntary contributions.

 

Please click here for the NUCA/PAC authorization form. (You will need you NUCA member logon. If you do not have it, please contact NUCA's Lauren Hensley at lauren@nuca.com or 703-358-9300.)

 

2022 will prove to be an exciting election cycle for Congress. NUCA/PAC will be engaged and involved--let's make our industry's PAC the strongest it can be.

Record All Your Jobsite Incidents With Just One App: NUCA WINS

NUCA WINS 2.1 offers even more valuable new features and enhancements. NUCA WINS 2.1 now allows multiple incidents to be linked together in one documented event.

 

Whether your supervisors need to document injury, damage, or safety events, they can now do it all from one convenient, intuitive app, right on their tablet or smartphone. Your company will benefit from accurate and timely reporting, and receive immediate notification in case of any jobsite incidents.

 

NUCA WINS 2.1 is your one-stop app for all adverse event recording and tracking.

Visit NUCAWins.com to learn more and schedule a demo of the app.

NUCA Official Letters To Congress & Federal Agencies

February 28, 2022 - Coalition Letter to Congress: Support the Fair and Open Competition Act (S. 403/H.R. 1284)

 

All formal NUCA correspondence with Congress and federal regulatory agencies can be found at nuca.com/letters.

Second Session, 117th Congress Schedule

Once Congress returns from its August recess on Sept. 13, they face a packed legislative agenda they need to work through before the midterm elections, which includes agreeing to and passing a continuing resolution (CR) to begin FY2023 on Oct. 1 and keep the federal government functioning.

 

The House is schedule to leave Sept. 30 to hit the campaign trail for a month, while the Senate is slated to hold votes for two weeks in October before leaving on Oct. 21. 

 

It is expected after the election there will four weeks of work in November and December to finish FY2023 appropriations bills, and other last-minute legislative work before the 117th Congress officially ends at 11:59 a.m. on Jan. 3, 2023.

 

For a 2022 Congressional calendar that shows both House and Senate schedules for the rest of the year, go here. The 2023 calendar will be released around Thanksgiving.

Sign Up For NUCA Advocacy Alerts!

If you're a NUCA member, your Washington governments affairs team wants you to be part of our Capitol Hill advocacy program! NUCA urges you to sign up to receive our Muster advocacy alerts. These emails will alert you to pending legislative action where your opinion can make a difference.

It's easy to sign up via the link below. Use your personal home address if you can do so, since our online Muster advocacy program finds your members of Congress via your voter registration address. But business addresses work just as well to receive our alerts.

I'm a NUCA member and I want to receive NUCA's Advocacy Alerts!

Join NUCA's Government Affairs Committee!

If you enjoy analyzing politics and find the inner workings of Congress and our industry's legislative program interesting or useful to your business, why not take the next step and join NUCA's Government Affairs Committee? Membership is open to all NUCA members, and we welcome the active participation of those seeking to make a difference in their industry, and to help shape NUCA's official policies on legislation.

 

Help shape the legislative and advocacy program of your association. Contact NUCA's Vice President of Government Affairs Zack Perconti to get started today.

National Utility Contractors Association

Governmental Affairs Department

3925 Chain Bridge Rd., Suite 300

Fairfax, Virginia 22039

703-358-9300