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Congress May be on Recess, but ACEC’s Advocacy Continues

To the ACEC Community,

I hope you are having a wonderful (albeit very hot!) summer, spending time with friends and family, and enjoying a little downtime. This month is likely the calm before a political storm: Congress broke last Thursday for its August recess, returning home with their work on government funding incomplete, setting the stage for a possible government shutdown this fall.

Congress has until October 1 to act on government funding, either through spending bills to fund agencies or stopgap measures to keep the lights on until a longer-term agreement can be struck. One thing is clear: it will be a tough fight, no matter which path is taken.

With Congress out, I’d like to share a brief wrap-up of where things currently stand with a few of our most pressing legislative priorities.

The first seven months of the 118th Congress have been a busy and productive time for ACEC. In mid-July, the House passed the Securing Growth and Robust Leadership in American Aviation Act, which reauthorizes and reforms FAA programs for the next five years. ACEC backed the bill, which features $4 billion annually in airport infrastructure funding – an increase of $650 million per year above current levels. The bill passed the House by a wide margin (351-69). We are now awaiting action on the Senate side, where it’s stalled over debate on pilot training and other matters. Funding is set to expire on September 30, so a short-term extension will likely be necessary until a final compromise is hammered out.

We have seen recent movement on the PPP/FAR credits clause issue. We have pushed legislation through the House three times to resolve this issue, only to hit a roadblock in the Senate. While we continue to look for a path forward on a waiver in the Senate, we’re also pursuing a parallel effort to engage Congress to assist with implementation challenges with various State DOTs to ensure that the credits requirement for forgiven PPP loans is both fair and consistent. Late last month, we secured a provision in the Senate Appropriations Committee report accompanying their FY24 transportation funding bill. While modified somewhat from what we submitted, the language urges FHWA to work with State DOTs to implement the credits requirement in a way that minimizes the burden on small engineering firms. This is a good step forward, but it’s not over and we intend to stay engaged.

Last week’s message focused on our continued work to repeal R&D amortization. Support for the bipartisan American Innovation and R&D Competitiveness Act (H.R. 2673) and the American Innovation and Jobs Act (S. 866) has grown since our lobbying push at the Convention, with 137 and 37 cosponsors, respectively. We’re working to continue building support and push the House and Senate to fix this problem as we head into the fall.

Believe it or not, the first GOP presidential debate is a mere three weeks from tomorrow. Just like that, another presidential election season is upon us. Of the 14 declared candidates, only half have met the RNC polling/fundraising threshold to take the stage in Milwaukee on August 23. Donald Trump continues to be the runaway favorite among Republican primary voters, hitting 51% in the most recent NYT poll. His closest rival is Ron DeSantis, polling at 17%. As Republicans look to defend their narrow House majority and Democrats cling to a one-seat margin in the Senate, the tops of both tickets will likely be a factor – if not THE factor – in deciding which party controls the 119th Congress.

Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t extend my wishes for a fabulous Professional Engineers Day. Yes, EVERY day is Engineers Day here, but tomorrow is an opportunity to formalize our recognition of and gratitude to our Professional Engineers. So, thank you for everything you do – for the Council, our communities, and our country.

Have a great week,

Linda Bauer Darr President & CEO American Council of Engineering Companies | ACEC Linkedin | Twitter


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