T&I Committee Advances Multiple Bills During Markup, Including Legislation to Help Communities Stretched Thin After Dealing with Both COVID and Disasters Such as Wildfires and Hurricanes
Washington, DC - The House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure approved a slate of measures during a Full Committee markup today, including bipartisan legislation that would boost the federal cost share from 75 to 90 percent for any presidentially declared major disasters in 2020. Approved legislation is now ready for consideration on the House floor.
“Over the past year, state, local, Tribal, and territorial budgets—including those in my home state of Oregon—have been pushed to their limit from battling both the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and disasters such as wildfires, hurricanes, floods, and other severe weather,” Chair Peter DeFazio (D-OR) said. “Today, our Committee approved H.R. 1951, the Increase Federal Disaster Cost Share Act of 2021, to ease the financial burdens facing communities across the country and to give them the relief they need to support their long-term recovery. In addition, our Committee approved several other important measures, including legislation to protect our waterways. Today’s markup is just the latest example of how the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee is working together to achieve meaningful results for the American people.”
Legislation approved today:
The ANS to H.R. 610 authorizes $25 million annually in federal appropriations for Bay restoration activities for fiscal years 2022-2026. The program includes a 75 percent cap for federal funding for eligible projects, as well as a cap on administrative expenses. The amendment also requires all federal agencies related to Bay restoration activities to develop an annual budget plan to examine the funds used in the previous fiscal year, a proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year, and an assessment of the federal role in implementing restoration efforts.
H.R. 1144, introduced by Reps. Derek Kilmer (D-WA) and Marilyn Strickland (D-WA), establishes a new regional program within the Environmental Protection Agency to support restoration efforts in the Puget Sound, and authorizes $50 million annually in federal appropriations over the next five years for restoration activities.
H.R. 587, introduced by Rep. Scott Peters (D-CA), seeks to clarify that the City of San Diego, California, can utilize the standard Clean Water Act National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit renewal process and does not need a waiver application to continue operating the Point Loma Wastewater Treatment Plant (“Point Loma Plant”) with alternative standards, allowing regulatory certainty in the future. The legislation has support from the surrounding localities, public works department, water district, and local environmental organizations.
H.R. 1921, introduced by Rep. Garret Graves (R-LA), reauthorizes the EPA’s Lake Pontchartrain Basin Restoration Program for fiscal years 2022 through 2026, continuing the previous federal appropriations of $20 million annually.
H.R. 2008, the Local Water Protection Act, introduced by Rep. Angie Craig (D-MN) and Rep. Brian Mast (R-FL), is bipartisan legislation to reauthorize appropriations for the nonpoint source management grants program administered by the EPA.
H.R. 1765, introduced by Congresswoman Eleanor Homes Norton (D-DC), would prohibit the Secretary of the Army and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) from finalizing, implementing, or enforcing a proposed rule that restricts public access to the Washington Channel in Washington, D.C., including the portion that abuts Fort McNair.
H.R. 468, introduced by Ranking Member Sam Graves (R-MO), would permit airports to use Airport Improvement Program (AIP) funds to make incentive payments to contractors for early completion of an airport planning or development project.
H.R. 1262, introduced by Reps. Pete Stauber (R-MN) and Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA), requires the Federal Aviation Administration to establish a task force?composed of members representing U.S. airlines, labor unions, and general and business aviation, as well as aviation safety and human factors experts?to review existing methods for presenting Notices to Airmen (NOTAM) to pilots and current NOTAM policies and regulations, and to determine best practices for organizing and presenting flight operations information to pilots in an optimal manner.
H.R. 390, introduced by Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) designates the federal building at 167 North Main Street in Memphis, Tennessee (currently known as the Clifford Davis - Odell Horton Federal Building) as the Odell Horton Federal Building. The bill is cosponsored by the entire Tennessee Congressional delegation, including Reps. Tim Burchett, Jim Cooper, Scott DesJarlais, Chuck Fleischmann, Mark Green, Diana Harshbarger, David Kustoff and John Rose.
H.R. 1703, introduced by Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), directs the Administrator of the General Services Administration (GSA) to enter into a cooperative agreement with the National Children’s Museum for the approximately 32,369 square feet of space which the Museum currently occupies in the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C.
H.R. 1917, introduced by Reps. Lizzie Fletcher (D-TX) and Michael McCaul (R-TX), will expedite the start of certain types of projects following presidentially declared disasters while waiting for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) full approval. It is intended to allow simple land acquisition and simple construction projects not requiring an environmental review to begin immediately without risk of losing federal matching dollars.
H.R. 539, introduced by Ranking Member Sam Graves (R-MO), amends Section 1216(a) of the Disaster Recovery Reform Act to direct the Administrator of FEMA to waive certain debts to the United States owed by individuals and households. The situations in which these debts shall be waived are 1) instances where disaster assistance was provided as a result of an Agency error and the debt is considered a hardship; and 2) instances where the disaster assistance provided might be subject to a claim or legal action taken by the Agency.
H.R. 1951, introduced by Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA) and cosponsored by Chair DeFazio (D-OR), will adjust the federal cost share for all emergency and major disaster declarations granted in calendar year (CY) 2020 pursuant to the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act. This bill raises from 75 percent federal share to not less than 90 percent federal share for emergencies and disasters declared by the President in CY20.
H.R. 2016, introduced by Resident Commissioner Gonzalez-Colon, amends the Disaster Recovery Reform Act to help federal agencies streamline and consolidate information collection and Preliminary Damage Assessments (PDAs) following disasters. The bill establishes a federal working group to identify areas of overlap in performing the assessments used to administer disaster assistance for individuals, households, states, tribes, and territories.
The Committee approved 12 General Services Administration’s (GSA) Capital Investment and Leasing Program resolutions to authorize the leasing of space for federal agencies. The leasing resolutions all involve an agency either reducing its space footprint, improving its utilization rate, or supplementing current services in the same area. These resolutions include a clause requiring the GSA Administrator to ensure that the procurements consider the availability of public transportation and the inclusion of renewable energy, water efficiency, and indoor air quality improvements that reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
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