Busy Summer Ahead for Congress in DC

(June 4, 2019) – After a weeklong Memorial Day work period, Congress gets back to work this week in DC for what is expected to be a busy summer ahead.

In the House, several Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20) appropriations bills are anticipated to come before the full chamber for a vote, including the Interior & Environment Appropriations bill, which passed through the committee in late May.  While the Senate has yet to release their FY20 appropriations bills, Senators are continuing to work on drafting legislation at funding levels expected to be closer to those of recent fiscal years.

However, with budgetary caps still in place from the 2011 Budget Control Act—also known as the sequester—the House Democrat Majority and the Senate Republican Majority will continue negotiating a potential two-year budget deal to set FY20 and FY21 federal spending levels that will provide the final baseline for the FY20 appropriations bills. 

This process was achieved twice over the past several years to amend the budget caps for previous fiscal years, prevent a sequester and provide for increased domestic spending.  Negotiations this year are expected to run through the summer and into the fall past the start of the fiscal year, beginning October 1, likely guaranteeing a continuing resolution (CR) to temporarily fund the government until a budget agreement is reached.

On the infrastructure front, with discussions between the White House and Congress currently on hold and strong Congressional divisions remaining on how to pay for a large and costly package, it appears comprehensive infrastructure legislation in highly unlikely for now.  However, the clean water sector is still well positioned to advance its key infrastructure priorities this Congress through the upcoming 2020 Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), which Congress it set to start working on with NACWA and other stakeholders later this summer.

Additionally, the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee is looking to markup bipartisan legislation to reauthorize and increase funding for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) and other federal clean water programs in the coming weeks and send to the House Floor for a full vote. The Senate is currently working on a path forward for introduction of similar bipartisan legislation to reauthorize the CWSRF.  Its likely final passage into law of any type of CWSRF bill will likely come as part of WRDA.

Finally, after several Congressional hearings on PFAS over the past few months, the respective House and Senate committees are expected to continue deliberations over the coming weeks on the best legislative path forward to address PFAS concerns. 

NACWA is continuing to engage with Congress on all of these legislative issues and will provide updates as they occur.  In the meantime, please contact Jason Isakovic or Kristina Surfus, NACWA’s Legislative Directors, to discuss further.