Congress Averts Shutdown Approving Sweeping Spending Deal

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In the midst of the political turmoil and tensions on Capitol Hill and the deadline to fund the government looms, Congress simultaneously reached a bipartisan $1.4 trillion spending package that funds the government through September 2020. This spending package includes core infrastructure programs for fiscal year (FY) 2020.

Congressional leadership developed two ‘minibuses’ (H.R. 1865 and H.R. 1158), or spending packages, early in the week and voted out of the House and Senate with President Trump expected to sign into law.

ASCE’s government relations team, 2019 Legislative Fly-In attendees, and Key Contacts were heavily involved in this year’s funding measure and was successful in securing in the following appropriations bills:

Under the Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development title:

  • $400 million supplemental for the $3.35 billion for the Airport Improvement Program (AIP). The FY19 funding level was $3.35 billion plus a $500 million supplemental. ASCE’s request was for a $1 billion supplemental.
  • $1 billion for the Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) grant program. The FY19 funding level was $900 million and ASCE’s request was for $1.5 billion.
  • $ 1.9 billion for the Transit Capital Investment Grant (CIG) program. The FY19 funding level was $2.3 billion and ASCE’s request was for $2.6 billion.
  • Full funding for core highway and transit programs included in the FAST Act. The FY19 funding level was overall consistent with core program authorization levels and ASCE’s appropriations request was for full funding of core programs.

Under the Interior & Environment title:

  • $60 million for the Water Infrastructure Finance & Innovation Act (WIFIA), which is $8 million less than the FY19 enacted level.
  • $5 million for the Securing Required Funding for Water Infrastructure Now (SRF WIN) Act, which is the first time the program has received funding since its authorization in the Water Resources Development Act of 2018.
  • $1.638 billion for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) and $1.126 billion for the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF), which are increases of compared to the FY19 enacted level of $1.394 billion for the CWSRF and $864 million for the DWSRF.

Under the Homeland Security title:

  • $10 million for the High Hazard Potential Dam Rehabilitation Program (HHPDR), which is on par with the FY19 enacted level.
  • $263 million for the Flood Hazard Mapping and Risk Assessment (RiskMAP) program, which is on par with the FY19 enacted level.

Under the Energy & Water Development title:

  • $15 million for the inventory portion of the National Levee Safety Program, which is triple the amount of funding it received in FY19.
  • $2.6 billion for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (USACE) Construction account, which is less than the $2.8 billion FY19 enacted level.

Under the Commerce, Justice, State & Science title:

  • $8.64 billion or a $203.3 million increase for the National Science Foundation
  • $1.04 billion for the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), an increase of $14 million
  • $5.49 billion for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), an increase of $64.2 million

An immediate step Congress can take to modernize America’s infrastructure, according to the Society, is to return to a regular order appropriations cycle and provide adequate funding to existing federal infrastructure and research programs and account. During ASCE’s 2019 Fly-In, members advocated for all programs mentioned above and their successes (AIP, BUILD, CIG grant, WFIA, CSRF, SRF WIN Act, HHPDR program, National Levee Safety Program, USACE Civil Works Construction account, NSF, NIST, and NOAA funding).

ASCE thanks all of our 2019 Fly In attendees, Key Contacts, and members who took action this year when we sent out those calls to action! It is evident that member advocacy contributed to these appropriations successes.

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