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March is Coming in Like a Lion in DC

To the ACEC community, 
When Congress returns this week from its President’s Day break, it will reconvene in the shadow of another potential government shutdown. 
By the numbers:
  • Friday is the deadline for transportation, water, energy, and military construction programs; March 8 is the deadline for everything else.

  • Unless another stopgap bill is passed, appropriations will lapse. 

As House and Senate leaders continue negotiations on the final spending bills, disputes remain over conservative policy riders included within the House bills that are non-starters with Senate Democrats. The House Freedom Caucus has been pressing Speaker Mike Johnson to put forth a year-long continuing resolution, which would trigger an automatic 1 percent reduction in the spending cap, per the terms of the budget deal cut last year.

 Meanwhile, the House is scheduled to vote this week on a short-term extension of federal aviation programs to May 10.

  • The House passed its five-year FAA reauthorization bill last June, and the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee approved its version in early February. Committee leaders are now negotiating a final compromise bill; this latest extension should give them the time to do so. 

The bottom line: ACEC is reminding congressional committee leaders of our priorities, reiterating our strong support for airport infrastructure investment. 

Why it matters:

  • It’s not just about building terminals and runways.

  • It’s about building connections, facilitating trade, and fostering economic growth, and as lawmakers fly back into Washington, we’re making sure they remember that. 

Staying in the transportation space, the Federal Highway Administration recently released a proposed rule to waive QBS and other procurement rules as they apply to IIJA discretionary grants flowing to local governments. 

  • The agency suggests this is necessary to reduce the regulatory burden on cities and counties managing these grant funds. Still, the reality is this will delay project delivery, increase costs, and undermine health and safety. 

  • ACEC is working to oppose this misguided idea, and we will reach out to our members to enlist you in this fight.  

The legislative work of the Senate will be interrupted once it comes time to act on the impeachment of Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas. Speaker Johnson has not yet sent the articles to the Senate, but the impeachment has procedural priority.

  • It will automatically become the upper chamber’s first order of business as soon as the articles are delivered.

  • Irrespective of where one falls on the issue of the Mayorkas impeachment, the timing is less than optimal given the press of Congressional business.

 But our course remains unchanged no matter how choppy the political waters may get.

  • For our part, ACEC and our coalition allies continue to advocate for the Senate to act on the tax package – including our R&D amortization fix – as soon as possible.

  • Last week, during our Roadshow event in Phoenix, we once again stressed how critical R&D is to our industry.

  • We are not letting up on this until it’s a done deal, and neither should you.

  • So again, please reach out to your Senators through our Action Alert

Have a great week,

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

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