NEWS FROM WASHINGTONThe Senate is in session. The House has begun their August Recess.Senate to Wrap Up Work This Week Before August Recess
The Senate has plenty left to do before they leave Washington at the end of this week for their five-week August Recess. At the top of their agenda is consideration of the two-year budget agreement (HR 3877
) that also suspends the debt ceiling until July 31, 2021. The topline for defense spending would be $738 billion for fiscal year (FY) 2020 and $740 billion FY 2021; nondefense spending would be $632 billion for FY 2020 and $634 billion for FY 2021. The House passed the legislation before they left last week by a vote of 284-149, and the president has already indicated his support for the bill’s approval.
Other than the consideration of the budget deal, which is expected as early as Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has teed up nearly 20 district court nominations he would like to approve before leaving this week. He is also expected to advance the nominations of Kelly Craft as ambassador to the United Nations and David Norquist as the Deputy Secretary of Defense. EPW Committee Leaders Introduce Most Substantial Highway Legislation in History
Today, the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW) has released draft language on the nation’s largest highway legislation in history: America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act
The draft bill authorizes $287 billion over five years, including $259 billion for formula programs to maintain and repair the nation’s roads and bridges. The bill would establish a program to support projects that improve the resiliency of roads and bridges to natural disasters and extreme weather events. It would also authorize a mix of formula-based and grant-based programs to begin to reduce transportation-related emissions. To find out more about what is in the newly proposed legislation:
- Read the text of the legislation here.
- Read a summary of the legislation here.
- Read the section-by-section of the legislation here.
The Senate EPW Committee has announced that they will have a committee business meeting
tomorrow at 9AM ET that will in part consider a substitute amendment to the ATIA bill draft.
The NARC staff is currently reviewing the bill language and will release a more in-depth analysis for our members this week. If you have any feedback or concerns related to the bill language, please reach out to Erich Zimmermann at email@example.com
. A House Bid to Restore and Update the Long-Dormant Intergovernmental Commission
House Representatives Gerry Connolly (D-VA) and Rob Bishop (R-UT) introduced a bill
this week that aims to “reconstitute and reform” the US Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations, which has not been in operation since 1996. The long-dormant commission was originally designed to foster cooperation between state, local, and federal policy makers. Members included representatives of the White House, congressional lawmakers, governors, state legislators, mayors, and county officials. From June 2017
through late last year
, Representatives Connolly and Bishop led the Speaker’s Task Force on Intergovernmental Affairs to propose a bill that would establish a newly organized Commission on Intergovernmental Relations. It would consist of 31 members: six appointed by the president; three appointed by the speaker of the House and Senate majority leaders; in addition, the National Governors Association, National Conference of State Legislatures, National Association of Counties, The National League of Cities and US Conference of Mayors would all make submissions. The bill sets guidelines to limit how many commission members could be from one political party or one state, and calls for members to hail from both large and small jurisdictions. The bill says it would act as a forum for discussing common problems across levels of government, options for improving federal grant programs, regulations, and tax policies.Congress Introduces Four New Carbon Pricing Bills
Pushed by constituent concerns regarding the effects of carbon emissions on climate change, a bipartisan group of lawmakers recently introduced multiple carbon tax bills in the House and Senate. On Thursday, Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) introduced the Climate Action Rebate Act,
which would set greenhouse gas fees, starting at $15 per metric ton of carbon and gradually increasing over time. Jimmy Panetta (D-CA) introduced a companion bill
in the House. Also on Thursday, Representative Francis Rooney (R-FL) and Representative Dan Lipinski (D-IL) introduced a pair of bills: the Stemming Warming and Augmenting Pay (SWAP) Act
, which would gradually impose a $30 tax per metric ton of carbon, as well as the Raise Wages, Cut Carbon Act
, which would gradually impose a $40 tax per metric ton of carbon, but at a slower rate than the SWAP Act.