1. DOT Awards $220 Million in Grants for Port Infrastructure Projects
On October 15, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) awarded $220 million in grants to improve port infrastructure, including facilities used by freight vehicles. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao announced the funding through the Maritime Administration’s Port Infrastructure Development Program.
NECA’s Look Ahead: This investment in our nation’s infrastructure will benefit many NECA contractors across the country. NECA applauds the Department of Transportation's actions on this matter.
2. Senate Fails to Pass PPP Reforms bill; COVID-19 Relief Not Likely Until After Election
The Senate took up a targeted COVID-19 relief package including Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) reforms. The Senate voted on the motion to invoke cloture on Leader McConnell’s amendment #2652 (Targeted Relief Package). The bill failed to proceed as it did not meet the 3/5 majority by a 51 to 44 vote.
NECA’s Look Ahead: Speaker Pelosi and White House negotiators continued discussions this week on a broader bill without a breakthrough. It appears likely that a COVID-19 relief bill will not be agreed upon until after the election.
3. NECA Monitoring Proposed Rule on ESG Fund Investments
As the election swiftly approaches, the Trump administration has continued at a rapid pace to finalize its contentious Department of Labor (DOL) proposed regulation to make it more challenging for fiduciaries of retirement plans to invest money in ESG funds. ESG funds (which stands for Environmental, Social, and Governance) have become a method for plans to see positive change while also gaining lucrative returns. Such practices, for example, can be seen in the divesting from many large oil and coal investments into greener technologies. So far, over 130 financial advisor and management groups have come out in opposition to the proposed regulation.
NECA’s Look Ahead: NECA Government Affairs continues to closely monitor the proposed regulation and its impact on our industry. We will maintain conversations with both the DOL and industry peers to ensure a positive result for our contractors who not only invest in these types of funds but provide skilled work to many of the sectors both positively and negatively affected by this proposed regulation.