June 19, 2008
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TRANSPORTATION
New Highway Trust Fund Solvency Plan Proposed – Action Needed
ENERGY
AGC Encouraged by President’s Call to Boost Oil Supply
CONSTRUCTION SPENDING
House Begins Consideration of FY 2008/FY 2009 Supplemental Spending Measure
APPROPRIATIONS
House Appropriators Begin FY 2009 Spending Process

  New Highway Trust Fund Solvency Plan Proposed – Action Needed
AGC continues to urge Senators to support a new bipartisan plan to address the projected Highway Trust Fund revenue shortfall in fiscal year 2009.  While AGC members have generated over 1,500 letters and emails to the Senators through AGC’s Legislative Action Center (LAC), additional support is needed. 

Earlier this year, the Bush Administration projected a revenue shortfall in the Highway Account of the Highway Trust Fund of about $3.7 billion, which, if not offset, would require a reduction in states’ federal highway funding of about $14 billion or 34 percent below the level guaranteed in SAFETEA-LU for fiscal year 2009.  Moreover, given recent government data reporting a historic decline in vehicle miles traveled, due largely to a drop in driving in response high gas prices, it is possible that revenue into the Highway Account may erode further. 

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.), Ranking Member Charles Grassley, (R-Iowa), and Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Patty Murray (D-Wash.) have developed a plan to ensure sufficient Highway Trust Fund revenues are available to fulfill the commitments made in SAFETEA-LU.  Their plan would transfer as much as $8 billion from the U.S. Treasury to the Highway Trust Fund.  These funds were previously taken from the Highway Trust Fund during TEA-21 negotiations at a time when its balance was considered too large.  The bipartisan plan would be included in legislation Congress must pass by June 30 to extend authorization for Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). 

AGC strongly urges all members and chapters to contact their Senators immediately in support of the Baucus/Grassley/Murray plan to fix the Highway Trust Fund.  To contact your Senators, please visit AGC’s Legislative Action Center.

For more information, contact Karen Bachman at (202) 547-4733 or bachmank@agc.org.
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  AGC Encouraged by President’s Call to Boost Oil Supply
In a press statement issued yesterday, AGC announced its support for the Administration’s proposal to expand opportunities for domestic energy production. In order to reduce America’s independence on foreign oil, we must increase domestic production.  AGC sees additional supply as critical to reducing energy prices and encouraging additional economic growth.

President Bush discussed America’s high oil prices on Wednesday, citing increased global demand in recent years.  In a statement, he asked Congress to move forward with four steps to expand American oil and gasoline production:

1.      Expand American oil production by increasing access to the Outer Continental Shelf.
2.      Expand oil production by tapping into oil shale, a type of rock that can produce oil when exposed to heat or other processes.
3.      Expand American oil production by permitting exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
4.      Expand and enhance refining capacity.
 
Read President Bush’s entire statement here.
 
For more information, contact Brian Deery at (703) 837-5319 or deeryb@agc.org. [ return to top ]

  House Begins Consideration of FY 2008/FY 2009 Supplemental Spending Measure
The U.S. House of Representatives today began consideration of a $186.5 billion supplemental spending measure to support continued military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.  The measure also includes funding for military and Veterans Affairs construction, as well as for natural disaster relief and recovery in the Midwest and for the reconstruction of levees in Louisiana.

The following construction items are included in the bill:

• $4.64 billion for the Department of Defense Military Construction and Department of Veterans Affairs, $2.2 billion more than the President requested.  This includes $11.8 million for Navy/Marine Corps family housing and $396 million for VA construction and major projects.
• $118 million for the Department of State embassy security, construction, and maintenance program in Afghanistan.
• $2.65 billion for natural disaster and recovery in the wake of flooding and tornadoes in the Midwest, including $479.9 million for the Department of Agriculture’s emergency conservation and watershed protection programs; $606 million for Army Corps of Engineers natural disaster response projects; $266.8 million for Small Business Administration disaster loans; and $897 million for FEMA disaster relief; $300 million for Community Development Block Grants; and $100 million for the Economic Development Administration.
• $5.8 billion for the Army Corps of Engineers to rebuild levees in Louisiana.

Details of the supplemental appropriations bill were released late today.  AGC is in the process of evaluating the provisions of the bill. 

The White House today indicated the President’s intention to sign the measure into law.  The measure must still be passed by the Senate.

For more information, contact Karen Bachman at (202) 547-4733 or bachmank@agc.org. [ return to top ]

  House Appropriators Begin FY 2009 Spending Process

Energy and Water – Corps Civil Works Program
The House Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee Tuesday unanimously approved its $33.3 billion spending package for FY 2009, a $1.9 billion increase over President Bush's request.  The bill would increase Army Corps of Engineers funding by $592 million and funding for the Bureau of Reclamation by $109 million.  The full Appropriations Committee is scheduled to take up the bill Tuesday.
 
Military Construction/Veterans Affairs               
The House Military Construction-Veterans Affairs Appropriations Subcommittee last week unanimously approved a $72.7 billion FY 2009 funding bill that would provide a large increase in spending for veterans programs for the second year in a row.  The measure would provide a total of $3.4 billion more than President Bush requested, including a $2.9 billion increase in VA funding.  The bill adds $400 million to Bush's request for military construction and Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC), with an emphasis on improving family housing.  It would add $1.1 billion to VA's construction budget to cover six additional major building projects and 145 minor construction efforts.  It also adds $136 million for military health care facilities, a result of hearings that revealed inadequate and badly aged facilities.  Today, the full Appropriations Committee postponed consideration of the bill.
 
Interior/Environment
The House Interior and Environment Appropriations Subcommittee last week approved its $27.9 billion spending package for FY 2009, a $2.1 billion increase over the President’s budget.  The bill provides $850 million for the Clean Water State Revolving Loan Fund (SRF) program, a $295 million increase over the President’s request.  The full Appropriations Committee Wednesday postponed further consideration of the bill.
 
Transportation
The House Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee is expected tomorrow to approve its $68.2 billion spending measure for FY 2009.  The bill is expected to include full funding for the federal-aid highway program at the SAFETEA-LU authorized level for FY 2009. 

For more information, contact Karen Bachman at (202) 547-4733 or bachmank@agc.org.
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