Committees Take Shape as Work Begins on Next COVID-19 Relief Bill while Impeachment Remains Center Stage
(February 10, 2021) – This week, the Senate impeachment trial of former President Trump is set to begin and will likely remain the primary focus in Congress for now.
President Biden and several Senators from both political parties have indicated their preference for a speedy trial in order to shift the focus and work back to key legislation, including the next COVID-19 relief package. Congressional committees are beginning to craft their respective portions of this legislation this week after last week’s passage of the budget reconciliation measure.
NACWA and the water sector are continuing to work with Congress to ensure that the next COVID-19 relief package provides the highest funding level possible for additional low-income water and wastewater ratepayer assistance.
The House and Senate clean water committees with jurisdiction relevant to NACWA’s advocacy finalized their rosters for the 117th Congress.
The House Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) Committee will once again be led by Majority Democratic Chairman, Peter DeFazio (D-OR), and Minority Republican Ranking Member, Sam Graves (R-MO), while the Water Subcommittee will continue to be led by Chairwoman Grace Napolitano (D-CA) and new to the Ranking Member spot, David Rouzer (R-NC).
On the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, Senator Tom Carper (D-DE) will take control of the gavel as Democratic Majority Chairman after serving as the Ranking Member last Congress and Senator Shelly Moore-Capito (R-WV) will serve as the Republican Minority Ranking Member.
Of note, five new Senators have been named to the committee including, Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Mark Kelly (D-AZ), and Alex Padilla (D-CA) on the Democratic Majority side, and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) on the Republican Minority side. EPW Subcommittee rosters have yet to be announced, but it is expected that Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) will serve as Chairwoman of the Water Subcommittee.
In a show of bipartisanship on Tuesday, the EPW Committee voted 14-6 to advance the confirmation of Michael Regan for EPA Administrator to the full Senate where he is expected to be confirmed in the coming weeks.
Finally, last week NACWA and AMWA provided its support once again for legislation that would amend provisions passed by Congress in last year’s second COVID-19 relief package that only allowed private employers, and not state and local governments, to be eligible for payroll tax credits for emergency paid sick and family leave. This bipartisan and bicameral legislation, the Supporting State and Local Leaders Act, would remove the exclusion for state and local governments and ensure they have the same access to these tax credits as the private sector.