NACWA Member Engagement Needed as Congress Ramps Up Infrastructure Work
As the Senate focuses its work on turning the high level bipartisan infrastructure framework released in late June into actual comprehensive legislation, NACWA sent a letter to Congressional Leadership last week urging that the highest level of funding for clean water infrastructure be provided in the form of direct investment.
Specifically, the letter “urges that as Congress crafts a once-in-a-generation infrastructure investment and jobs bill, investment in water infrastructure must be provided at a level that is on par with other key sectors.” The letter also notes “it is equally important that funding is provided as real dollars that inject much-needed direct investment in clean water – particularly grants.”
NACWA’s key message to congress Continues to be that any funds in a comprehensive infrastructure bill must be appropriated, not just authorized (i.e. Congress must send the money out the door immediately and not just promise to send the money in the future), and must be in the form of grants as much as possible as opposed to loans
While specific details of any legislation have yet to emerge and the path forward on how all this comes together still remains very unclear, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has reiterated his ambitious goal of passing a comprehensive infrastructure package through the Senate before Congress adjourns sometime in August for summer recess.
The path forward in the House is even less clear as the lower chamber has not been as directly involved in the bipartisan framework discussions. Just before July 4th, the House passed its own legislation closer to what is the House Majority Democrats vision of comprehensive infrastructure legislation, which included $50 billion in authorized funding for clean water.
However, regardless of the final timeline and ultimate legislative approach, work is ramping up in the halls of Congress and some type of final infrastructure bill is likely to come together at some point this later year through a bipartisan package and/or the Budget Reconciliation process.
Now is the time for NACWA members to weigh in with their Senators and Representatives on the infrastructure bill and advocate the importance of including the highest level of water funding possible, especially in the form of direct grants.
NACWA strongly encourages all members to reach out and help position the water sector for success in any potential comprehensive infrastructure bill. NACWA has created a template letter for members to use when reaching out to their Members of Congress.