1. The Senate passed an 18-month reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) by a 95-3 vote.
NECA's Look Ahead: With the Senate having passed an overwhelmingly bipartisan bill that does not include the House’s controversial Air Traffic Control (ATC) privatization proposal, it is all the more likely that the provision to do so will be dropped or significantly tamped down. It is unclear, however, whether the House will simply take up the Senate version or rework its six-year bill. The current FAA authorization measure expires on July 15th, so Congress must act before then, either on an extension or longer-term bill, to avert a shutdown.
2. The Senate also approved its first major energy bill in almost a decade. The NECA-supported Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2016 (S.2012) passed by a vote of 85-12. The comprehensive energy bill includes several of NECA’s top legislative priorities that will: promote energy efficiency in buildings, facilitate the modernization of the electric grid; promote the development of hydropower, geothermal, methane hydrates, and other resources; easing permitting restrictions on construction of natural gas pipelines on federal land; enhance cybersecurity efforts; bolster mineral security; streamline the federal approval process for LNG exports; and repeal a range of obsolete authorities currently within the U.S. Code. NECA CEO John M. Grau released a statement on the passage of the Energy Policy Modernization Act.
NECA’s Look Ahead: The legislation must now be resolved with the North American Energy Security and Infrastructure Act (H.R. 8), which passed by the House late last year. Chairwoman Murkowski said she would like to see the final bill enacted by August. NECA will continue to advocate in the interests of our members as the Conference Committee prepares to meet in the coming weeks.
3. Reps. David McKinley (R-WV) and Donald Norcross (D-NJ) officially launched the Congressional Building Trades Caucus with over 50 Members of Congress. This group will focus on issues of importance to the construction industry, with an emphasis on the unionized segment.
NECA's Look Ahead: The Congressional Building Trades Caucus will serve as an important forum for members of both sides of the aisle to learn more about issues like prevailing wage, project labor agreements, and training programs. NECA has been brought in as an early stakeholder of the caucus to advise on areas of importance to employers. We look forward to working with our contractors to grow Congressional membership in this important group during our Legislative Conference.