NACWA Looks Forward to Working with Congress as it Returns for a Busy Legislative Period Ahead
(February 26, 2020) – Congress returned to Washington, DC this week for what is expected to be a busy legislative period ahead.
Both House and Senate appropriators have begun their initial Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21) appropriations process with outside stakeholders and Member of Congress. NACWA will be submitting its annual clean water programmatic requests to House and Senate appropriators and subsequently meeting with committee staff in the coming weeks to ensure the public clean water sector continues to build on the positive gains made over the previous fiscal years.
NACWA is also working with several Members of Congress and their staffs to request appropriators provide substantial funding for key U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) clean water programs including the SRFs, WIFA, geographic watershed programs, and workforce programs.
EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler will be testifying this week before the House Energy & Commerce Committee on the Agency’s FY21 budget submitted to Congress earlier this month. The House Democrat Majority is expected to focus much of the hearing on the Agency’s proposal to cut EPAs overall budget by 27 percent.
On the authorizing front, the House and Senate are continuing their work on the 2020 Water Resources Development Act (WRDA). NACWA has been working with both chambers over the past year to ensure inclusion of several clean water priorities.
The Senate is expected to release their draft WRDA bill this spring that will likely include the traditional US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) water resources project authorizations, as well as several clean water provisions.
The House is also expected to release their version of WRDA sometime this spring. The House version however will be narrowed only to USACE project authorizations with the goal of moving the clean water section along a separate but parallel track through H.R. 1497, the Water Quality Protection and Job Creation Act of 2019, which passed the committee with bipartisan support last year. The separate track of the two bills in the House is due to budgetary scoring. The idea, as expressed to NACWA by the House Democrat Majority, is to pass each bill through the chamber and then negotiate them together as one package when they move to conference the WRDA bill with the Senate later this year.
Timing on both the House and Senate WRDA process and bills is very fluid at this point and NACWA will continue providing updates as they occur.
NACWA will continue working to ensure that clean water remains a key focus in the appropriations and WRDA process. Please contact Jason Isakovic or Kristina Surfus, NACWA’s legislative staff, with any questions or to discuss further.