1. The House and Senate agreed to a five-year, $305 billion measure to fund highways and mass-transit projects. The NECA-supported bill, which is the first long-term highway bill in over a decade, passed December 3, 2015 with large bipartisan support. The House approved the bill by a 359-65 vote and the Senate later passed the measure by a 83-16 vote. In a letter to the full Congress, NECA joined with our Transportation Construction Coalition partners in supporting this legislation.
NECA’s Look Ahead: A long-term highway bill has been one of NECA’s top priorities, making this bill a huge win for our contractors. Enactment of this legislation will bring much-awaited stability to federal, state and local planners’ ability to commit resources to our nation’s transportation needs. All told, this law will result in more transportation construction projects and more opportunities for NECA contractors. President Obama is expected to sign the legislation as soon as December 4.
2. A second major NECA priority, The North American Energy Security and Infrastructure Act of 2015 (H.R. 8), passed the House on December 3, 2015 in a 249-174 vote. This long-awaited and comprehensive energy policy bill focuses on the transmission, distribution, and storage of energy to ensure we have the necessary infrastructure to meet today’s modern energy challenges and will bring our nation’s energy policies into the 21st century. It has been nearly 10 years since Congress last addressed energy policy. Among the NECA priorities included in the bill are the following: 1) streamlining the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) review process for federal energy related applications, 2) streamlining the regulatory process for authorizing liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports, and 3) expanding the use of resiliency-related technologies such as advanced grid technologies, distributed generation, microgrid systems, combined heat and power, waste heat resources, and energy storage technologies. In a message to all House members, NECA sent a letter outlining the benefits of this legislation and urged a YES vote on the bill.
NECA’s Look Ahead: The measure now goes to the Senate for consideration.
3. The House this week voted largely along party lines to disapprove of the Administration’s “Clean Power Plan” as well as its rule limiting carbon dioxide emissions from new power plants. NECA, along with its coalition partners in the Partnership for a Better Energy Future, sent a letter to the House of Representatives urging support for disapproval of these two rules.
NECA’s Look Ahead: President Obama has already said he would veto the resolutions, as they would upend the heart of his climate change platform, and neither vote has a veto proof majority.