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Gov't Affairs News

NECA Top Three - Week of 2/1

Feb 05, 2016

  1. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) introduced H.R. 4441, the Aviation Innovation, Reform, and Reauthorization (AIRR) Act. This comprehensive six-year reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) would, among other things, establish a new independent, not-for-profit corporation to modernize the nation’s air traffic control services. The proposal would also increase funding for the Airport Improvement Program (AIP), which provides for airport infrastructure improvements across the country.

    NECA’s Look Ahead: Chairman Shuster has scheduled a Committee markup of the AIRR Act for February 11th. However, this legislation faces a difficult path to enactment given significant and diverse opposition to the overhaul of air traffic control services. With the current FAA extension expiring at the end of March, it is all but certain that Congress will have to pass another shot-term extension to avoid a shutdown of the FAA. 

  2. Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), John Duncan (R-TN), and Richard Hanna (R-NY) introduced on February 4 the NECA-supported Water Investment Trust Fund Act – legislation that would provide a small, deficit-neutral, protected source of revenue to help states replace, repair, and rehabilitate critical clean drinking water facilities by creating a voluntary labeling and contributory system to which businesses that rely on a clean water source could opt-in.

    NECA’s Look Ahead:  The nation’s clean water needs are estimated to be nearly $15 billion a year, and typical Congressional budgeting has averaged about $2 billion annually since 2000.  Drinking water infrastructure investments face similar challenges. The EPA estimates that annual investments of $19 billion are needed to ensure the provision of safe tap water, while Congress appropriates less than $1 billion annually. NECA will continue to advocate for this critically needed legislation. 

  3. The Senate continued consideration of the Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2015 (S. 2012) this week. Although there has been substantial progress on the bill, Senate Democrats blocked a procedural motion to end debate on the legislation because of a disagreement over a $550 million aid package for the Flint, MI water crisis.

    NECA’s Look Ahead:
    Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) said that with a little more time, negotiators could reach a deal on Flint funding. Discussions are centering over the amount of money Flint would receive and how much money would be devoted to other cities with drinking water emergencies similar to Flint. Once there is an agreement, the entire bill is expected to complete consideration in the next week.