Major U.S. Congressional Actions in 2018 â€“ InfrastructureÂ Save Our Seas Act
- Bipartisan legislation that reauthorizes the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administrationâ€™s (NOAA) Marine Debris Program through 2022.
- Allows the administrator of NOAA to declare â€œsevere marine debris eventsâ€ that opens up federal funding for cleanup.
- Directs NOAA to study marine debris and ways to mitigate debris, including developing alternatives to plastic.
Status: Passed House on 6/6/18
- Bipartisan legislation to renew the Federal Aviation Administrationâ€™s funding for another five years.
- Establishes new conditions for recreational use ofÂ drones and repeals the Special Rule for Model Aircraft.
- Provides for repairs to infrastructure damaged in a natural disaster and directs how disaster program funds are spent.
Status: Signed into law on 10/15/18 Americaâ€™s Water Infrastructure Act
- Bipartisan legislation to reauthorize funding for water infrastructure programs as well as funding for new projects.
- Authorizes $4.4 billion for the Environmental Protection Agencyâ€™s safe drinking water initiatives.
- Authorizes $6.1 billion for US Army Corps harbor, port, and waterway projects.
- Funds must still be appropriated by Congress.
Status: Signed into law on 10/23/18Sources: National Journal Research
Trump Administration 2018 Recap: InfrastructureÂ
$1.5 Trillion Dollar Plan Stalled
- President Trumpâ€™s plan relies primarily on â€œpublic-private partnerships.â€
- The Federal Government would spend only $200 billion to entice states, localities, and private investors to match.
- No legislative text was introduced.
Infrastructure Point-Person Leaves the White House
- DJ Gribbin, White House special assistant for infrastructure, resigned in April 2018.
- He came to the Trump administration from Macquarie Capital where he worked primarily on public-private partnership projects.
Executive Orders on Trade
- Some analyses have showed increased costs for projects due to import tariffs on steel and aluminum.
- A proposed expansion of â€œBuy Americanâ€ rules that would require federal infrastructure projects to use only American products was reported in August but never formally announced.
Sources: National Journal Research
Potential 2019 Infrastructure Agenda Items for Congress
MajorÂ Infrastructure Funding PackageBackground:
- Democrats in the House want much more federal money than proposed by President Trump in 2018.
- There is bipartisan support in Congress for increased spending on infrastructure projects.
- Democrats have proposed increasing the gas tax to raise money for the Highway Trust Fund.
- Federal highway programs need to be re-authorized before 2020.Â
H.R. 1664, â€œInvesting in America: A Penny for Progress Actâ€
- Sponsored by incoming House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-OR).
- Raises $500 billion for infrastructure projects through annual increases to the gas tax and new Treasury bonds.
Increased Oversight of the Trump Administration
- Incoming House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-OR) plans to quickly call on Dept. of Transportation officials to testify on their slow approvals of transit grants.
â€œThere has to be real money, real investment. Weâ€™re not going to do pretend stuff like asset recycling. Weâ€™re not going to do massive privatization.â€Â â€” Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR)
Source: National Journal Research
Potential 2019 Infrastructure Agenda Items for the Trump Administration
Continued Deregulation of Federal Permitting
- President Trump has made cutting red-tape a priority and has reversed several major Obama administration initiatives.
- In August 2017, Trump signed the â€œOne Federal Decisionâ€ executive order which designates a single agency as the lead decision-maker.
Final WOTUS Rule
- The Clean Water Act requires stricter protections of â€œWaters of the United States,â€ but defining that term has been controversial.
- A proposed WOTUS definition was released on December 11, 2018, by the EPA and US Army Corps to replace a controversial Obama-era 2015 rule.
Climate Change Pivoting
- Democrats, especially new progressive members, have demanded that for any infrastructure package to pass, it must address climate change.
- President Trump has frequently denied belief in man-made climate change and rolled back Obama-era climate protections.
- The administration may have to accept the creation of new renewable energy programs for any bill to pass the House.
The Democrats will come to us with a plan for infrastructure, a plan for health care, a plan for whatever they’re looking at and we’ll negotiate â€¦ We have a lot of things in common on infrastructure.â€Â â€” President Trump
Sources: National Journal Research