Both chambers are in recess until lawmakers return on April 17.
The most important legislative items for Congress to address are the debt limit, the farm bill reauthorization, and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization.
Debt limit discussions could serve as the first major legislative item to receive consideration on Capitol Hill. Regarding the farm bill and FAA reauthorizations, both issues have received significant Congressional attention. Committees of jurisdiction have held multiple hearings on the reauthorizations with significant implications for local governments. Currently, lawmakers are drafting bills for both reauthorizations, and many expect the text from the committees in the upcoming months. Major provisions of the reauthorizations will expire on September 30, 2023.
In the background of the reauthorization, the Senate has yet to approve a leader of the administration after President Biden’s first choice Phil Washington, CEO of the Denver International Airport, withdrew his name for consideration after strong opposition from Republicans and non-commitments from several Democrats. The White House expects to nominate someone within the next few weeks, starting a nomination process that will take months. That person will be responsible for overseeing any legislation passed regarding an FAA reauthorization.
Congress voted to end the COVID-19 National Emergency on March 29. The effective date for the termination of the National Emergency is today. The vote carries implications for funding for many local governments through the State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF). Today, the Department of Treasury released FAQ #4.11, outlining how the end of the national emergency affects SLFRF funds. Here are updates provided by Treasury:
- Premium Pay: Generally speaking, recipients will be able to continue to make investments using SLFRF funds except for projects in the premium pay category. With the end of the COVID-19 National Emergency, essential workers are no longer eligible to receive premium pay following the April 10 effective date.
- Public Health and Negative Economic Impacts: Recipients may continue to support and expand the workforce, including by helping impacted workers enter in-demand careers, such as in health care and childcare. Recipients may also use SLFRF funds to build public sector capacity, including hiring public sector workers and providing retention incentives.
- Revenue Loss: The calculation of the revenue loss formula will not change by the end of the National Emergency. How recipients claim up to $10 million in loss is not affected.
- Water/Sewer/Broadband: This category is not impacted by the end of the National Emergency.
Bills and Regulations of Interest to You
New Markets Tax Credit Extension (NMTC) Act of 2023
Makes the NMTC permanent, index the allocation to inflation in future years, and exempt NMTC investments from the Alternative Minimum Tax.
Food and Farm Act
Reforms the safety net for farmers and ranchers, enhance soil, water, and habitat conservation, encourage beginning farmers and ranchers, strengthen nutrition for Americans, support agriculture research and innovation, reduce food waste, improve animal welfare, and invest in regional food systems, and for other purposes.
PFAS Drinking Water Rule Proposal
Establishes both enforceable Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs) and non-enforceable Maximum Contaminant Level Goals (MCLGs) for the six types of PFAS.
Tuesday, May 30th Comment here
The Federal Flood Risk Management Standard (FFRMS)
Provides a process for determining the FFRMS Floodplain that would establish a preference for the climate-informed science approach (CISA), and it would revise HUD's floodplain and wetland regulations to streamline them, improve overall clarity, and modernize standards.
Tuesday, May 23rd
Adoption of Building Energy Codes
Comment for the development, adoption, and implementation of the latest model building energy codes and zero building energy codes for residential and commercial, new and existing buildings
Wednesday, April 26th