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Notes from the Hill

Things have been buzzing on Capitol Hill this week.  Here’s a quick look at some of the highlights.

 

  • During his State of the Union Address, President Trump noted plans to move forward with a massive (now $1.5 trillion) infrastructure measure but offered few details that had not already been shared.
  • Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Shelly Moore Capito (R-WV) have introduced S 2346, the Innovative Water Workforce Development Act. The measure would establish grants for the water and wastewater sector to, according to Booker, “…build a pipeline of workers that will be ready to take over when the current generation retires.”  Grants would be managed by EPA and the Corps of Engineers and would focus on funding for those areas with high retirement rates and/or high unemployment.  The measure has been referred to the Committee on Environment and Public Works.
  • EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt explained during his recent hearing before the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee that internal discussions have just begun on the efficacy of possibly moving EPA staff from regional offices to individual state capitals. No decisions have been made.
  • House Appropriations Committee Chair Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) has announced his retirement at the end of this Congressional session. Among those considering a run for the gavel is Ken Calvert (CA) who is the current chair of the Interior & Environment Appropriations Subcommittee.  To date, 9 of the 19 House Committee Chairs have signaled their departure or retirement at the end of this session.
  • Along these lines, ASDWA came across an interesting analysis of why so many Members are retiring.  The short answer appears that it’s too hard and has stopped being fun.  Click here to read more.
  • ASDWA is hearing that House Republicans are again engaged in putting together another CR because it has become increasingly apparent that, once again, Congress will miss its deadline to fund government operations for FY 18 (February 8). The latest CR proposal would extend funding through March 22; however, no clear decision has been made on whether the Senate will agree to this latest extension.
  • Regardless of what happens with FY 18 funding, Monday February 12 is the date on which the Administration’s FY 19 budget request is expected to be made public.
  • Representative Marcia Fudge (D-OH) has introduced HR 4892, the Collaborative Water and Soil Enhancement Act of 2018. The measure addresses two principal areas:  added emphasis on nutrient and soil health management and added emphasis on the protection of drinking water sources.  The measure has been referred to the Agriculture Committee.
  • ASDWA came across an interesting article on why
  • https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/why-so-many-members-of-congress-are-retiring/ar-BBIzFLQ?li=BBnb7Kz#image=1