It’s a new year, and it ushers in a host of new beginnings: the 117th Congress, the Biden Administration, and hopefully an end in sight to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. As people all around the world make New Year’s resolutions to improve themselves, we would like to share what we have resolved to work toward on the federal policy front this year.
Now that Election week is over, and Joe Biden has been declared the next President, we wanted to take a few minutes to look forward to 2021.
Last week, Congress passed a short-term extension to funding for all federal agencies, giving them until December 11, 2020 to reach a deal on funding for the rest of 2021. As part of that bill, Congress also included a one-year extension of current transportation law and funding (the FAST Act), through September 2021.
Unfortunately, the gains for active transportation and safety for people biking and walking that we won in the Senate America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act of 2019 and the House INVEST Act are at risk. The Senate has not moved its bill the rest of the way through the Senate, and it still lacks the transit, safety and funding titles.
Since our last federal policy blog two weeks ago covering Committee action, the House transportation bill, the INVEST Act, has expanded and moved forward. As a reminder, the INVEST Act includes an estimated $7 billion over four years for active transportation projects and improving safety for people biking, walking, and rolling, plus many strong policy changes. Given this, 32 national organizations joined with the League of American Bicyclists, American Heart Associat
Over the course of 24 hours spread over two days, the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee under the leadership of Chairman DeFazio (D-OR) considered amendments to the INVEST in America Act, which is the House version of the surface transportation reauthorization bill. Some members were in the Committee room, spaced out for safety, and others Members participated via webcam, while audience members watched via YouTube.
After waiting until nearly halfway through FY2018 to set spending levels, Congress is out of the gate quickly on the FY19 appropriations process. The process of setting spending levels is easier this year, because the FY18 spending package included a two-year agreement on funding levels that were significantly more generous than what the Trump administration had proposed. As an example, the transportation-housing spending max spending level for FY19 is more than $1 billion higher than the FY18 cap, w
The US Department of Transportation has announced that the long-standing TIGER program, in which USDOT awards up to $25 million apiece to multimodal transportation projects across the country, has been renamed the BUILD program. The renaming of TIGER signals USDOT’s intention to put the Trump administration’s stamp on it.
There was a pile-up of legislative priorities in December, and Congress ended up getting a tax bill through but punted action on spending levels, the DACA immigration policy, and stabilizing the health insurance market to 2018. This means that January is now full of deadlines.
With the remaining days of the year quickly winding down, Congress has a very short window to address a legislative pileup.
Congress has not yet reached agreement on spending levels for government agencies, with the current extension ending on December 8. There is likely to be an extension for another few weeks or even until early January. Negotiations have been challenging, as they include spending levels as well as a resolution to the end of the DACA immigration policy for young people—so a government shutdown is not out of the picture.