1. House and Senate Move Forward with National Defense Authorization Act
After lengthy markups by the Senate and House Armed Services committees, both chambers have approved their respective versions of the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2020. This legislation, often heralded for its bipartisan support and yearly passage, is well-known as “must pass” legislation. Both bills, which include positive provisions towards NECA’s legislative agenda, will now be sent to the House and Senate floors for a full vote. Among those is the NECA-supported Runway Extension Act, a bill that NECA testified in favor of earlier this year. We anticipate the House to vote within the next week, and the senate within the next two, closing out just prior to the July 4 recess. Once passed through each Chamber, the bills will likely be sent to a conference committee made up of members from both parties who are tasked with reconciling the differences and developing compromise legislation.
NECA’s Look Ahead: Throughout this process, NECA has advocated for the betterment of our contractors and worked with stakeholders to educate them on the complexities of Department of Defense work. Upon the passage of these respective bills through their Chambers, NECA will remain in contact with the conferees and issue a list of legislative priorities will will advocate for inclusion in final passage of the legislation.
2. Congressional Leadership Moves to Address Budget Crisis
Congressional leadership held a meeting on June 19, 2019 with White House officials to discuss the looming budget crisis facing Congress. According to Politico, this was the first meeting in nearly a month that both Democrat and Republican Leadership met on the issue.
NECA’s Look Ahead: A deal must be made to lift the budget caps, avoid a shutdown and potentially raise the debt ceiling all before the end of the fiscal year. NECA is encouraged by the bipartisan negotiations and will continue to advocate for a solution to the budget crisis in order to avoid a government shutdown.
3. Senate Holds Hearing on FAST Act
On June 18, 2019, Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS), chairman of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, convened a hearing titled, “FAST Act Reauthorization: Transportation and Safety Issues.”
NECA’s Look Ahead: This important hearing examined the implementation of the NECA-supported Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, which expires at the end of fiscal year 2020, and priorities for the Department of Transportation as Congress prepares for surface transportation reauthorization. NECA will continue to advocate with Congressional leadership on the reauthorization and full funding of the FAST act, along with comprehensive infrastructure investment.