Congress Back to Work With Busy Spring Agenda
(April 10, 2018) – As Congress gets back to work this week after a two-week recess and ramps up its legislative agenda, NACWA is looking to build upon the passage of a bipartisan Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18) Omnibus legislative package late last month which provided significant increases for clean water infrastructure.
Over the coming weeks, the Senate and House Appropriations Committees will be conducting several hearings as they begin their work on the FY19 appropriations process. Following the specific successes achieved in the FY18 Omnibus, NACWA and the water sector collaborated on several joint letters to Senate and House appropriators to ensure that water infrastructure, reuse, research, and rural needs remain a focal point for appropriators in FY19.
While the actual legislative vehicle for a potential infrastructure package is still unclear at this time, both the House and Senate are continuing to lay the groundwork for infrastructure legislation through hearings. NACWA is continuing its strong bipartisan advocacy on Capitol Hill to ensure the needs of clean water agencies and the water sector are heard as legislative proposals emerge. An increasingly likely vehicle may be the reauthorization of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), which is set to expire on September 30 and authorizes fundamental US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) activities, which can impact NACWA members directly and indirectly.
Last week, NACWA and several coalition partners sent bipartisan letters to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee requesting language in the 2018 WRDA to help create more efficient outcomes for improved local water resource management through increased coordination between the USACE and local governments. NACWA also continues advocating for our top priorities, including integrated planning legislation, to be included in any WRDA package.
Additionally, the House Agriculture Committee is considering a mark up of their 2018 Farm Bill in the coming weeks. The Senate Agriculture Committee may mark up their version later this spring. NACWA has been actively engaging with members of both the House and Senate to ensure inclusion of the Association’s priorities, which focus on increasing opportunities for clean water agencies to participate in conservation programs. These programs support watershed-based and cooperative nutrient management, as well as the use of agricultural technology and precision conservation, to help address water quality impairments.
Next week’s Water Week 2018 and its anchor event, the National Water Policy Fly-In (April 17 – 18), provide an important opportunity for clean water professionals across the country to come together, build upon the current momentum, and help ensure water remains a top priority for Congress and the Administration. Contact NACWA Legislative Directors, Jason Isakovic or Kristina Surfus, to discuss any of these issues, the upcoming Water Week 2018.