Infrastructure Discussions Continue Between White House and Congress
Infrastructure discussions ramped up this week between the White House and Congress as President Biden and Democrat and Republican Congressional leaders met to discuss a potential bipartisan path forward on a comprehensive infrastructure package.
While the path forward it still unclear and Democrats and Republicans differ in their view on the size and scope of an infrastructure bill, this week’s meetings look to build on the momentum of the recent passage of the bipartisan Senate water infrastructure bill. The Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act (DWWIA) passed the Senate by a broad bipartisan majority a few weeks ago, and comments from both political parties in the House and the Senate indicate a desire to move some sort of comprehensive bill this year.
With Senate passage of DWWIA, the legislative focus for clean water now shifts to the House of Representatives where the Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) Committee is working to advance its clean water legislation in the coming weeks, the Water Quality Protection and Job Creation Act of 2021, H.R. 1915. Once the House passes its bill, the two chambers will begin conference negotiations to ensure water is included in any comprehensive infrastructure bill.
NACWA strongly encourages its members to continue weighing in with their respective Members of Congress about the importance of including the highest level of water funding possible in an infrastructure bill, especially in the form of direct grants.
Additionally, the Senate Environment and Public Work (EPW) Committee held a confirmation hearing today for Radhika Fox to be EPA’s Assistant Administrator for Water. The Committee is expected to vote on and advance her confirmation to the full Senate in the coming weeks.
Lastly, NACWA wants to make members aware of legislation introduced last week by Congressman John Garamendi (D-CA) that would provide certain water utility projects that receive WIFIA financing the ability to secure loan terms of 55-years instead of the current 35-year loan terms. Please contact NACWA’s Legislative Director, Jason Isakovic, with any questions or if you are interested in how this legislation may potentially benefit your utility.