July 10, 2008
Email the Editor
Home Page
. Search back issues
. Forward to a Friend
.
. Subscribe/Unsubscribe
Printer Friendly
IMMIGRATION
House Expected to Take Up Extension of Electronic Employee Verification System in July
FEDERAL CONTRACTING
Appropriations: Senate Panel Approves Corps of Engineers Spending Measure
TRANSPORTATION
Senate Appropriations Committee Includes Highway Trust Fund Fix in FY 2009 Funding Measure
Senate Finance Hearing on Transportation Funding

  House Expected to Take Up Extension of Electronic Employee Verification System in July
Congress is set to consider reauthorization of the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) electronic verification system, known as Basic Pilot or E-Verify, which is due to expire in November.   The House plan would reauthorize the program for five years.  Timing for action on this legislation could be as early as next week. 

For more information, contact Kelly Knott at 202-547-4685 or knottk@agc.org. [ return to top ]

  Appropriations: Senate Panel Approves Corps of Engineers Spending Measure
The Senate Appropriations Committee this week approved a $33.258 billion spending bill for the Army Corps of Engineers Civil Works program, the Bureau of Reclamation and the Energy Department.

The committee approved $5.3 billion for the Army Corps of Engineers and $1.08 billion for the Bureau of Reclamation – more than $560 million over the White House request for FY 2009. The measure would provide $2.004 billion for construction programs for water infrastructure, $2.220 billion for Operations and Maintenance, and includes $365 million for construction in relation to the Mississippi River. While there was no additional funding to address the severe flooding in the Midwest, Members indicated there would be an additional funding measure brought up later this year.

For more information, contact Marco Giamberardino at 703-837-5325 or giamberardinom@agc.org, or Karen Bachman at 202-547-4733 or bachmank@agc.org.
[ return to top ]

  Senate Appropriations Committee Includes Highway Trust Fund Fix in FY 2009 Funding Measure
The Senate Appropriations Committee today approved FY 2009 transportation funding legislation which fully funds the highway and transit programs at the SAFTEA-LU authorized levels. The Committee included in the bill a provision to transfer $8.017 billion from general revenue to the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) providing the revenue necessary to fully fund the programs. Absent this transfer of funds the highway program would have to be cut by 34 percent. The bill provides $41.2 billion for the highway program (the same amount as in FY 08), $10.2 billion for transit (7.7 percent above the FY 08 level). Also included in the bill is funding for the Airport Improvement Program at $3.515 billion (the same amount as in FY 08).

While the measure passed on voice vote, the transportation appropriations bill must still be approved by the full Senate where it could face opposition. Just prior to the Fourth of July recess, objections from Senate Budget Committee Ranking Republican Judd Gregg (N.H.) and Senator Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) prevented the HTF fix from being included in FAA extension legislation. At that time, AGC and our transportation and construction allies worked in support of an effort lead by Senate Environment Committee Chairman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Committee Ranking Republican Jim Inhofe (Okla.) to have senators sign a letter in support of the fix. If either of your Senators did not sign the letter, you are requested to contact them through AGC’s Legislative Action Center to ask for their support of the HTF fix. 
 
The House Appropriation Transportation Subcommittee has approved its version of the FY 2009 transportation funding measure and it also fully funded the programs at the SAFTEA-LU authorized levels but that bill did not include a provision transferring funds. Full committee markup in the House has not yet been scheduled.  The differences between the House and Senate bills will have to be worked out in a House and Senate Conference.

For more information, contact Brian Deery at 703-837-5319 or deeryb@agc.org. [ return to top ]

  Senate Finance Hearing on Transportation Funding
The Senate Finance Committee held a hearing Thursday on ways to fund infrastructure during the next highway reauthorization. Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) said the committee must find “creative and sufficient financing for these projects” in the next reauthorization bill.

Congressional Budget Office (CBO) Director Peter Orszag and JayEtta Hecker, GAO director of physical infrastructure issues, both testified that transportation spending is not meeting the needs of the nation. They also agreed that taxpayer support of the system is highly inefficient and should be changed.  The CBO suggested that tens of billion of dollars of additional spending could be economically justified.  Hecker and Orszag described a number of financing options for highways, including user fees for passenger and freight transport, congestion financing to charge vehicles for peak-hour driving, tax credit bonds and a federal financing bank.

For more information, contact Brian Deery at 703-837-5319 or deeryb@agc.org. [ return to top ]