House Looks to Wrap Up This Week, Senate Looks to Push Forward Through Fall

2977303_052615-shutterstock-us-capitol-building-generic-img(September 25, 2018) – With federal Fiscal Year 2019 (FY19) set to begin on October 1, the House is expected to vote on, and pass, an appropriations package this week which includes temporary funding of all federal agencies that have not yet received appropriations from Congress for FY19.

Unless the Interior & Environment Appropriators reach a deal this week, which seems unlikely, this temporary funding will include the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The package, which already passed the Senate, includes a continuing resolution (CR) that will fund the EPA at current levels through December 7 – providing Congress time, after it returns to DC in mid-November, to pass a full year bill.

NACWA, along with other water sector partners, is urging appropriators to ensure that the final FY19 appropriations measure provides strong federal funding for clean water infrastructure investment. After this week, the House is likely to conclude its Fall legislative work, punting additional legislative items until after the November elections.

The Senate plans to stay in DC through October to continue addressing nominations for judicial and Administration posts, as well as to complete other legislative items.  One of those legislative priorities includes passage of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), S. 3021, which passed the House by unanimous vote on September 13.  The Senate may vote on the bill as soon as Wednesday of this week.  

Last week, NACWA, the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies (AMWA), the Water Environment Federation (WEF) and the American Water Works Association (AWWA) sent a joint letter to Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman John Barrasso and Ranking Member Tom Carper urging the swift passage of WRDA, which includes a number of key priorities for the drinking water and clean water sectors.

Finally, significant policy disagreements remain between the House and the Senate on the 2018 Farm Bill, and it appears that a short-term extension will need to be passed by Congress this week before the September 30 expiration deadline.  Both Chairmen and Ranking Members from the respective House and Senate agriculture committees have committed to ongoing negotiations throughout the Fall in order to get a final Farm Bill done before the end of this Congress.

NACWA will continue to provide key legislative updates as they unfold in the coming weeks. Please contact Jason Isakovic or Kristina Surfus, NACWA’s Legislative Directors, to discuss.