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LEGISLATIVE UPDATE: "Limbo" is the Key Word
October 19, 2021 by NAPA Government Affairs

As Congress returns from its recess and negotiations intensify between the White House and Democratic factions in Congress over the size and scope of the reconciliation bill, we thought it would be useful to catch you up on what is happening.

First, it is the “stated” plan of the House and Senate Democratic leadership to pass the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and the reconciliation bill by the October 31st deadline. The reality, however, is that there is zero chance the reconciliation bill will be done in 12 days. What NAPA and other stakeholder groups are hoping for is that Democratic leaders get a framework agreement with a topline number in place and use that to unlock the vote on the IIJA.  

There have been numerous White House meetings with the President involving House and Senate Democratic moderates and progressives to try and reach agreement on the reconciliation bill. Democrats on the Hill are anxious and frustrated that they cannot close the deal, especially with Senator Manchin (D-WV) and Senator Sinema (D-AZ) who are holding out for a smaller reconciliation bill.  

Meanwhile, NAPA must stay focused on not only bringing IIJA up for a floor vote in the House, but ensuring it passes. Speaker Pelosi has a razor-thin majority in the House of Representatives which means every member is an important vote. To that end:

  • The Transportation Construction Coalition and the Americans for Transportation Mobility Coalition are running radio ads in select districts this week targeting members of the House who are 50-50 on this issue, urging their support for IIJA passage.  
  • AASHTO has released a survey on the harmful impacts of short-term extensions on state DOT programs.  
  • The Transportation Construction Coalition sent separate letters to the two primary House voting blocs preventing passage of the IIJA. The coalition:
  • refuted a document circulated by Republican leadership in opposition to the IIJA that contains misrepresentations of the bill’s content; and
  • reminded progressives of key priorities that could be fulfilled by passing the IIJA, like increasing economic opportunity and enhancing infrastructure in underserved areas.

 

In a related matter, the Senate Appropriations Committee released the text of the FY 2022 Transportation Appropriations bill which can be found here. The main point is that the Senate Appropriations Committee assumed the FAST Act would get extended for a full year. (The House FY 2022 Transportation Appropriations bill assumed the House INVEST in America Act would be enacted into law). If the IIJA passes, then the FY 2022 Transportation Appropriations bill will have to be rewritten. If IIJA is not enacted into law, then assume the Senate Appropriation Committee funding levels for FY 2022.  Click here to view a one-page chart showing the topline funding levels for highways and airfields under the different spending and authorization bills pending in Congress.

We have attached a one-page chart showing the topline funding levels for highways and airfields under the different spending and authorization bills pending in Congress for your information. 

We will keep you apprised as key developments are announced on the reconciliation bill. In the meantime, if you have any questions or need additional information, please let us know.  And do not hesitate to contact your Representative and urge support for the IIJA. Your voice and their vote are needed to have a healthy asphalt pavement market over the next five years!

Ashley and Jay

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