Congress Ramps up Work on Water Legislation
(February 6, 2018) - Congress has begun ramping up its legislative efforts in both the House and Senate to address water infrastructure funding. Last week, Senator John Boozman (R-AR), Chairman of the water subcommittee on the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, delivered a speech on the Senate Floor highlighting the urgent need for greater federal investment in order to provide all Americans with safe and reliable drinking water and effective wastewater and storm water treatment. During his remarks, Senator Boozman also announced the bipartisan introduction of legislation he and Sen. Booker (D-NJ) introduced along with Sens. Inhofe (R-OK) and Feinstein (D-CA), S. 2364 – the Securing Required Funding for Water Infrastructure Now (SRF WIN) Act. Companion legislation was also introduced in the House by Reps. Katko (R-NY) and Blumenauer (D-OR). Both bills would create an additional source of federal funding to support the State Revolving Funds (SRFs) for drinking water and clean water.
This legislation joins another recently introduced bipartisan bill addressing water financing programs, the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Reauthorization Act of 2017. This bill was introduced by Sen. Hoeven (R-ND) and Booker (D-NJ) in the Senate (S. 2329) and led by Reps. Mast (R-FL) and Maloney (D-NY) in the House (H.R. 4492). It reauthorizes the EPA’s WIFIA Program and jump-starts the U.S. Army Corps’ implementation of its own WIFIA Program.
NACWA is supportive of both these bipartisan bills seeking to boost investment in water infrastructure, and we thank all the Members of Congress that are working hard to champion this issue. NACWA has been working closely with Congress on this important topic and will continue to do so moving forward.
In addition, Sen. Booker (D-NJ) and Sen. Shelly Moore Capito (R-WV) recently introduced S.2346, the Innovative Water Workforce Development Act, which would establish a competitive grant program to assist in workforce development in the water utility sector. As the water utility sector anticipates a wave of retirees in the coming years, this legislation would help ensure communities have the trained workforce they need.
With President Trump’s infrastructure plan expected to be released in the coming weeks, after which Congress will take the reins in translating the plan into legislative language, NACWA continues to work with key Members and the Congressional committees of jurisdiction to ensure clean water priorities are included. Over the coming weeks, there will be likely be additional infrastructure bills introduced in Congress with relevance to the water sector. NACWA will continue to keep members updated on important developments and strategic opportunities to engage with Congress on timely advocacy.