1. The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee unanimously approved a $5 billion, biannual Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) authorization on May 25. H.R. 5303, the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2016, is a NECA-supported bill that addresses the needs of America’s harbors, locks, dams, flood protection, and other water resources infrastructure and helps strengthen the Nation’s economic competitiveness. The bill would authorize 28 new Army Corps of Engineers projects, and also remove $5 billion previously authorized older projects that have never received funding by Congress.
NECA’s Look Ahead: WRDA 2016 is Congress’ return to the regular, biannual process of authorizing projects and activities related to the key missions of the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers. NECA has advocated that Congress return to a two-year cycle of considering WRDA legislation to ensure Congress addresses the nation’s water resources development needs in a timely manner. Maintaining regular order saves money in the long term by preventing the increases in project costs that occur when necessary authorizations are stalled or delayed. A major difference from its Senate companion, the House bill does not include funding to address clean water infrastructure or replace lead pipe water distribution systems. NECA prefers that there be a water infrastructure title in the final bill since there are limited opportunities to address our nation’s clean water needs in major legislation.
- Click here for the text of the Water Resources Development Act of 2016.
- Click here for a summary of the Water Resources Development Act of 2016.
- More information from the committee markup, including amendments approved, is available here.
2. The House voted this week to amend and approve S. 2012, the Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2016. The legislation was amended to include provisions of two key bills supported by NECA: 1) H.R. 8, the North American Energy Security and Infrastructure Act, which passed the House last December, and 2) H.R. 4583, to promote a 21st century energy and manufacturing workforce. The bill also includes large portions of several other bills passed by the House earlier last year.
Watch Chairman Upton’s floor remarks here.
Read Upton’s remarks here.
NECA Look Ahead: As momentum builds in the multi-year effort to deliver the first significant energy policy bill in a decade, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) appointed full committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and twelve additional Energy and Commerce Committee Republican members to help lead House negotiators in finalizing a compromise comprehensive energy bill with the Senate.
- Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI)
- Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield (R-KY)
- Environment and the Economy Subcommittee Chairman John Shimkus (R-IL)
- Chairman Emeritus Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX)
- Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH)
- Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA)
- Energy and Power Vice Chairman Pete Olson (R-TX)
- Rep. David McKinley (R-WV)
- Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS)
- Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-VA)
- Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH)
- Rep. Bill Flores (R-TX)
- Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK)
3. On May 25, Senate Democrats released a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell urging him and Senate Republicans to help come up with a bipartisan solution to the pension cuts faced by the more than 400,000 workers and retirees participating in the Central States Pension Fund. The letter also asked that he move forward legislation to provide relief for the 100,000 coal miners facing cuts in the near term.
NECA’s Look Ahead: The letter also underscores the urgency of the Central States multiemployer pension fund, which is expected to become insolvent within a decade. The letter also expresses concern about a significant number of multiemployer pension plans that are also experiencing funding shortfalls that the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation may no longer be able to pay even the small guarantee under the multiemployer program. Click here to see the list of signatories to the letter, along with a copy of the letter. NECA will continue to advocate for the need for additional reforms to save the multiemployer pension system, in particular the need for approval of composite plans.