ACPA is pleased to present just a few highlights of PCA’s “This Week in Washington” update by Rachel Derby, PCA Vice President of Legislative Affairs. Interested in seeing more? Become an ACPA Advocacy Interest Member.* Advocacy Interest Members are eligible to participate in the Legislative Issues Committee (LIC). Click here to join!
- Congress is set to begin week two of a four week work period before returning home for August Recess. This will be a busy stretch in Washington. At the top of the Congressional “to-do” list is addressing the looming debt ceiling. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is urging Congress to raise the debt ceiling before leaving town at the end of the month.
- Before the break, the House will also seek to pass a bill to increase minimum wage, possibly continue to address immigration and potentially focus on Medicare through introduction of a prescription drug package. In the upper chamber, Majority Leader McConnell will continue to move forward on pending nominations, some tax treaties and possibly some healthcare related legislation.
In other news…
- The North American Concrete Alliance sent a letter to Senate leadership supporting Jeffrey Byard’s nomination to be the next administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. His nomination has been approved by the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, and awaits consideration by the full Senate.
- The Senate Commerce Committee unanimously supported Michelle Schultz’s nomination to be a member of the Surface Transportation Board. The President has yet to nominate a candidate for the vacant Democratic position and Ranking Member Maria Cantwell (D-WA) wants a full Senate vote on Schultz’s nomination to be paired with another nominee to the STB.
- The Senate EPW Committee held a hearing focused on the importance of passing a long-term reauthorization of the surface transportation program. As part of Chairman Barrasso’s (R-WY) remarks, he indicated the committee’s goal is to pass a bipartisan five-year reauthorization bill before the August recess. Witnesses from two state DOTs spoke about the importance of passing a long-term bill that ensures funding certainty to advancing projects.
- The House Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee held a hearing on the status of implementation and assessing future needs of a Water Resources Development Act (WRDA). Members of the subcommittee used the hearing to demonstrate their support for passage of a WRDA bill next year to continue to pass a bill every two years. WRDA bills authorize new Army Corps of Engineers which are cement intensive. Additionally, Chairman DeFazio (D-OR-04) spoke about his continued work to ensure the full resources of the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (HMTF) are invested annually, instead of sitting on a large balance.
- The House Subcommittee on Research and Technology of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology held a hearing on the needs of a national surface transportation research agenda, which will be reauthorized as part of FAST Act reauthorization. Both members and witnesses highlighted the need to balance short and long term research needs. Research into improving the durability and lifespan of transportation projects was raised as a place to focus this research.
- The Senate confirmed Peter Wright as Assistant Administrator of the EPA Office of Land and Emergency Management (OLEM) in a vote of 52-38. OLEM is responsible for Superfund, Brownfields, and Waste policy, including defining and regulating nonhazardous secondary materials (NHSMs) critical to cement industry efforts to increase the use of lower-carbon alternative fuels. Wright previously served as an attorney for Dow Chemical.
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