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Gov't Affairs News

NECA Top Three 11/6/15

Nov 06, 2015

1. The House passed the NECA-supported Surface Transportation and Reauthorization Reform (STRR) Act, a six-year $325 billion bill to fund the federal highway and mass transit programs. The legislation cleared the House in an overwhelming 363-64 vote with NECA joining Transportation Construction Coalition partners in supporting the measure.

NECA’s Look Ahead: Now that each chamber has passed its own bill, the House and Senate must conference the two versions before the November 20th deadline. Final passage of a conferenced bill, which looks promising despite the tight timeframe, would offer the long-term security needed for states to plan large transportation construction projects.

2. NECA sent a letter to Members of the House in opposition to the King (R-IA) amendment to the surface transportation bill, which would have repealed Davis-Bacon prevailing wage requirements on federal-aid transportation projects. The King Amendment failed by a margin of 188-238, with 54 Republicans supporting NECA’s position.

NECA’s Look Ahead: While NECA expects repeal proposals to continue, we have helped to cultivate a solid support base for Davis-Bacon prevailing wage requirements. The 54 Republicans who voted against the amendment include newly elected Reps. Donovan (R-NY) and LaHood (R-IL), as well as Rep. Buschon (R-IN), who had voted in favor of the amendment in the past. NECA will continue to educate Members of Congress on the importance of prevailing wage and work to recruit additional supporters.

3. NECA supported the Federal Water Quality Protection Act (S. 1140), legislation that would require the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to withdraw and rewrite the rules in the Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule, but Senate Democrats blocked that bill on November 4 by a 57-41 vote, causing the bill to fall short of the necessary 60-vote threshold to advance legislation rule.

NECA’s Look Ahead: Immediately afterwards, the Senate passed, by 53-44 vote, a “resolution of disapproval” of the WOTUS rule. This resolution, if approved, would void the regulations set in the Waters of U.S. rule. The House is expected to take up this measure in the coming weeks, but the White House has already threatened to veto it.