Senate Debates Comprehensive Infrastructure Package; Committee on Appropriations Mark Up Energy-Water FY2022 Spending Bill
As of this writing, the Senate is debating its bipartisan infrastructure package, H.R. 3684. This comprehensive package is the Senate’s counterpart to the House’s INVEST Act that was passed earlier this summer. The Senate package provides $55 billion in appropriations to support investment in the nation’s clean water infrastructure. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has stated the desire to move expeditiously to pass the package. In addition to passing the infrastructure package, Schumer has also stated the desire to vote on a budget resolution in the coming week that would allow for the House and Senate to begin work on a reconciliation package.
The package’s Clean Water Title also reauthorizes existing clean water financing programs, as well as creates new financing assistance programs to provide additional, new opportunities to improve the nation’s clean water infrastructure and management of water resources. While the bill’s Clean Water Title reflects the provisions contained in S. 914, there are differences between the two bills. Key among the differences is the reduced funding authorizations levels within the infrastructure package compared to the levels contained in S. 914. In addition to the investment provisions in the Clean Water Title, the Senate package also includes a Western Water Infrastructure Title that provides funding authorizations for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s water financing programs to respond to increasing drought conditions in the West. A summary of the key provisions within the Clean Water and Western Water Infrastructure Titles can be accessed here.
Aside from debating the infrastructure package this week, the Senate Committee on Appropriations began the process of considering the fiscal year 2022 appropriations bills before the new fiscal year begins on October 1. The committee marked up and advanced the Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies spending bill on a vote of 25-5. The Energy-Water spending bill is responsible for funding the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (USACE) water infrastructure financing programs. The bill provides a total of $53.625 billion, of which $1.832 billion is for USBR and $8.7 billion for USACE. The committee has yet to release its report on the bill, which details specific programmatic funding levels. A summary of the topline funding numbers for the Energy-Water bill can be accessed here.
CASA Quoted In Support of Water Infrastructure Legislation
Senator Alex Padilla (D-CA) introduced legislation to increase funding for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Alternative Water Source Projects Pilot Program. The Water Reuse and Resiliency Act (S. 2454) would authorize $1 billion over five years to support the program. The bill aims to respond to the increasing drought conditions in the West by supporting projects that diversify water supplies. Upon introduction, the office published a press release, in which CASA is quoted supporting the bill, along with State Water Resources Control Board Chair Joaquin Esquivel. CASA’s statement of support is provided below.
“Senator Padilla and Senator Feinstein’s legislation to support the construction of alternative waters supply projects will enhance our abilities to construct drought resilient water supplies,” said Adam Link, Executive Director of the California Association of Sanitation Agencies (CASA). “Equally important, it will allow CASA agencies to leverage our water quality treatment processes to deliver a new, safe and reliable water supply. Funding these projects is a vital step toward addressing the water supply needs of all of California’s citizens. As an organization dedicated to developing climate resilient water supplies, CASA wholeheartedly supports Senator Padilla’s bill and looks forward to its enactment as Congress considers water infrastructure legislation.”