Infrastructure Debates Continue – NACWA Urges Member Engagement This Week!
The debate over investing in infrastructure continues to advance in the U.S. Congress. Majority leadership in both the U.S. House and U.S. Senate are working feverishly to draft a “Reconciliation” package that could be advanced alongside the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment And Jobs Act, which passed the Senate last month and is scheduled for a House vote by Sept. 27th.
Earlier this week, NACWA sent an Advocacy Alert to Association members encouraging utilities to reach out to their delegations expressing support for increased funding for water in the Reconciliation legislation. Members are strongly encouraged to contact Congress and weigh in!
As previously reported, the Infrastructure Investment And Jobs Act includes significant direct investment in clean water infrastructure and valuable reauthorizations. The Reconciliation package provides an opportunity to build on that investment in clean water. Congress’ focus for Reconciliation is on programs and priorities that were not already funded through the Infrastructure Investment And Jobs Act.
Based on the ongoing discussions NACWA is having with Hill staff, for clean water this may include funding for the Clean Water Act Sec. 221 Sewer Overflow and Stormwater Reuse grants. Additional funding would grow this program and provide grants to municipal utilities for sewer and stormwater investment, as well as funding for low-income water and wastewater customer assistance that would build upon the first-ever federal dollars provided for low-income water customers as part of last year’s COVID-19 relief.
NACWA staff has been working very closely with Congress as negotiations advance. We are pleased with the attention being paid to additional investments in water. However, continued advocacy – including outreach from individual utilities – is key as we move into the home stretch of drafting and marking up bills. NACWA encourages all members to review this week’s Advocacy Alert and to reach out to their delegations expressing support for including funding for the Sec. 221 Sewer and Stormwater Grants and funding for low-income water assistance.
The House is moving first to release and advance Reconciliation text, with the water committees scheduled to markup language over the next two weeks. From there, Democratic leadership will need to continue navigating the political landscape to advance their goal of passing and sending to the President’s desk for signature both the bipartisan Infrastructure bill plus the majority’s Reconciliation package.