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Capitol Insider - July

House Passes $170 Billion in Water Infrastructure Funding 

Senate May Take Up Core Infrastructure Bill in Late July

What Is Next For The Highway Bill In Congress?

Save the Date: Fall 2021 Washington Summit, Nov. 2-3, 2021

NUCA Joins ACP Policy Coalition

Summer Congressional Schedule

Sign Up For NUCA Advocacy Alerts!

Join NUCA's Government Affairs Committee

 

House Passes $170 Billion in Water Infrastructure Funding in Surface Transportation Bill

The U.S. House on July 1 passed its version of the surface transportation bill, the "INVEST in America Act" (H.R. 3684), on a 221-201 vote. The $715 billion transportation and water infrastructure bill included $117 billion for the Drinking Water SRF and lead service pipe replacement, and $51 billion for the Clean Water SRF. Both figures are significant increases from the last time resources were authorized for these funds. NUCA strongly supports these investments. 

 

H.R. 3684 also included some labor policy proposals not supported by NUCA, such as mandated project labor agreements on certain projects. However, this bill is far from being finished, and NUCA and other business groups are lobbying Congress to remove this policy from the final legislation. "We urge Congress to avoid being sidetracked by partisan policy proposals that sound good in theory but in practice will have the economic recovery this bill aims to strengthen," wrote NUCA CEO Doug Carlson.

 

This surface transportation bill will serve as the opening ploy in negotiations with the Senate's own version of the bill. Nothing is yet written in stone that these funding levels will remain intact, nor will policy proposals. NUCA continues to lobby Congress to keep these water infrastructure resources at least at this level of funding, arguing that these amounts would enable good progress to be made in addressing the back catalog of needed public works projects across the U.S. More here.

Senate May Take Up Core Infrastructure Bill in Late July

The Hill, a insider Capitol Hill media publication, noted on July 8 that the Senate may take up the compromise core infrastructure bill the week of July 19. However, that $1.2 trillion bill agreed to by centrist Senators has yet to be written into actual legislation.

 

Negotiations in both the House and Senate continued over the Independence Day recess, with a bipartisan House group, the Problem Solvers Caucus, announcing they supported the Senate’s own centrist group $1.2 trillion (over eight years) core infrastructure plan. The House caucus, which includes 29 Democrats and 29 Republicans, is significant for the GOP support, which may be enough to pass this package in the House.

 

However, details of the package beyond a framework remain remains unknown, since no legislation formalizing this deal has been introduced in either chamber. And news reports continue to highlight that payment for the plan remains in question. 

 

It is not known when the larger $4 trillion "social infrastructure" bill may be debated by the Senate, according to The Hill article. From NUCA's best analysis, action on this separate and very complex bill done under Senate budget reconciliation rules most likely will wait until after Congress's month-long summer recess, beginning Aug. 6. More here.

What Is Next For The Highway Bill In Congress?

What is next for the surface transportation bill H.R. 3684 and the other larger infrastructure packages promoted since the beginning of the year by the Administration and Congressional Democrats remains to be determined.

 

With the surface transportation law's deadline just three months away on Sept. 30, the avenue ahead for this reauthorization bill could devolve into serious potholes. Under regular order, House transportation committee Chairman Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) would sit down with his Senate counterparts in a conference committee and discuss how to combine their bills.

 

The Senate's Environment and Public Works Committee approved its own surface bill on May 29, but it is different from what DeFazio is proposing. The Senate bill maintains existing priorities in highway funding, whereas the House bill contains new limitations on how states can spend these resources. The Senate bill also does not include millions in earmarked infrastructure projects, as does the House version. To complicate matters even further, the process is tied to a separate "social infrastructure" budget reconciliation proposal that has intense Senate political pitfalls.

 

This may result in the surface transportation authorization process finding itself at the Sept. 30 deadline without a final bill. This last-minute attempt at deal-making is all-too-common in Congress, which means that lawmakers may have to extend that deadline by a month to give lawmakers more time to reconcile the various bill versions into one common package that can pass a sharply divided Congress.

 

NUCA's Fall Washington Summit is scheduled for Nov. 2-3, so our event's timing may be fortuitous. Make sure you are part of it!

Save the Date: Fall 2021 Washington Summit, November 2-3, 2021

NUCA leadership recognizes the significant importance of this year in Congress for infrastructure funding topics, especially for certain bills we've been advocating for over the last 20 years.

 

Please mark your calendar for November 2-3 to be an important part of NUCA's first in-person visits in over a year to your lawmakers' offices on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. The momentum we've built in Congress for water, wastewater, and broadband issues will only grow over the summer--and we need you to come to D.C. this fall to help seal the deal. Held in conjunction with the NUCA fall Board of Directors meeting and Chapter Development Conference (Nov. 1), the fall 2021 Washington Summit promises to be one of the most exciting fly-ins our association has held in many years. 

 

NUCA will release more details to the membership about this exciting event in the following weeks, including hotel location and registration fees. Please mark your calendar--and stand by! #NUCASummit

NUCA Joins ACP Policy Coalition

In pursuit of expanded broadband infrastructure support among other Washington trade associations, NUCA has joined the American Connection Project (ACP) Policy Coalition. The group represents companies and organizations from many sectors and geographies across the United States, including agriculture, health care and technology as well as education and energy. The coalition advocates delivering high-speed Internet infrastructure to areas that do not have service today.

 

These coalitions allow trade associations like ours to magnify support for our issues on Capitol Hill. We're proud to be part of the ACP Policy Coalition. 

 

NUCA is a member of other issue coalitions including our own, the Clean Water Council.

Summer Congressional Schedule

Congress is out of session until next week. Both chambers will reconvene for legislative votes for two weeks, beginning July 19 to July 30. The Senate will leave for its month-long August break on August 6, with the House leaving a week earlier.

 

Both chambers will come back to Capitol Hill after Labor Day, with the Senate starting Sept. 12 and the House taking first votes on Sept. 20. Much work will be taking place back in their districts, with one NUCA Chapter already making plans to host Congressional job site visits with their members.

 

Both the House and Senate will be in session for much of October and November, stopping official business once again on Nov. 19th. To print out the 2021 Congressional calendar used by insiders, go here.

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!

NUCA’s Government Affairs office can be contacted at:
Office: 703-750-1326 Eben Wyman, Principal: eben@wymanassociates.net

Zack Perconti, Associate: zack@wymanassociates.net