Category: Federal Legislation

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Water Resources Development Act is Signed Into Law By President

The Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2018, included as title I of the America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 (S. 3021), was signed into law today.  The new law provides the needed authorization for investment in harbor, waterway, flood protection, and other water infrastructure improvements throughout the country. As noted in the House Transportation … Continue Reading

The Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) Finally to be Considered by the Senate

Great news for those of us tracking the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), which authorizes specific projects, creates and modifies programs, and updates authorities for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers:  The Senate has scheduled a a cloture vote on Tuesday.  For those with less background on the inner-workings of the Senate, a cloture vote … Continue Reading

USACE Appropriations Bill Signed by President, Becomes Law

Today the President signed an FY2019 “Minibus” into law (HR 5895) covering three of the twelve appropriations areas – energy and water, MilCon/VA, and legislative branch.  The Energy and Water portion funds the activities of USACE’s Civil Works function.  The agreement would provide a total of $7 billion to USACE, $171.5 million more than in … Continue Reading

Federal Funding Panel Shared Interesting Perspectives at Annual FMA Conference

At last week’s Floodplain Management Association meeting in Reno, Nevada, the two of us planned and participated in a panel discussion on federal funding for flood control projects under the Trump administration.  Attendees enjoyed a discussion on federal funding options for local entities that are ready to carry out a flood control project (or any water infrastructure … Continue Reading

WRDA, Appropriations, and USACE Is Staying Where It Is (for now, at least): A Busy Few Days on the Hill

All joking aside about a gridlocked Congress, real progress has been made this week on flood risk reduction authorizations and appropriations.  As explained below, it is looking like the 2018 Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) may pass shortly, and the relevant budget subcommittees are ready to move an agreed-upon appropriations packet forward to their respective … Continue Reading

Will the Army Corps of Engineers lose the Civil Works mission? Looks like the Department of Defense is making some plans.

In late June, President Trump unveiled his administration’s plan to reorganize the federal government.  The proposed shakeup is entitled “Delivering Government Solutions in the 21st Century: Reform Plan and Reorganization Recommendations.”  On page 15 of the proposal you will find:  “Move the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) Civil Works out of the Department of Defense (DOD) to … Continue Reading

No Long-Term Reauthorization Yet; NFIP Extended Through November 30, 2018

In a last minute move to avert a mini-financial disaster, today the Senate passed, and the president signed, a bill to extend the NFIP until November 30, 2018.  The House had previously passed a companion bill.  Demonstrating the broad support to keep the program running, the Senate passed the bill 86-12 and the president signed … Continue Reading

Should the Civil Works Mission Leave the US Army Corps of Engineers?

As happens on a regular political cycle, there are stories being published again with calls for USACE’s Civil Works mission to leave USACE and move to the U.S. Department of Transportation, or perhaps the Department of Interior.  On Thursday, Major General Donald Jackson Jr. sent an Email for distribution within USACE on the proposal to move … Continue Reading

The President Is Pushing Infrastructure, But Not So Much Through the Corps’ Civil Works Program

Today the Administration released its FY19 budget proposal. As you likely know, the budget proposal signifies the starting point for the annual appropriations cycle which will play out in Congress over the course of the calendar year. Large portions of the budget proposal will be deemed “dead on arrival” by Congress, but it’s important to … Continue Reading

Why Advocacy Matters

Today’s guest-post is from Laura Morgan-Kessler of Van Scoyoc Associates. It is almost impossible to turn on the news or open your twitter feed today without seeing words like gridlock, partisan, or contentious used to describe the current climate in Washington, D.C. The constant negativity surrounding the events and activities in our nation’s capital has led … Continue Reading

The Money Calendar – How The Federal Budget Calendar Is Circular, Not Linear

On a recent visit to Washington, D.C. to work on client issues, I attended any number of meetings where we discussed Federal appropriations.  But before we get to an observation or two, here is a recap on the process for how Congress can choose to invest money into a flood risk management project with the … Continue Reading

Will the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) be reauthorized, extended, or what?

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) will expire at the end of the month. For anyone that has read the newspaper lately, this is a lousy time for the program to expire with two hurricanes bearing down on the Eastern seaboard, and Texas’ largest city recovering from a 100-year storm. But politically, it is a … Continue Reading

How Should the Flood Management Community Deal with the Uncertainty of Climate Change?

Despite reticence in Washington, D.C. about the term “climate change” (see yesterday’s blog post on this topic), there is plenty of discussion in the media and in scientific circles about whether intense, off-the-charts storms like Hurricane Harvey are the result of, or are associated with, climate change. Unfortunately, we are unlikely to see a widely agreed-upon … Continue Reading

Senate Democrats Are Eager to Invest in Infrastructure, Including Flood (but what about Climate Change?)

The democratic members of the Senate Environment & Public Works (EPW) Committee took the initiative to lay out their priorities for a future infrastructure package. Those priorities, totaling over $500 billion, are included in a July 21, 2017 EPW Minority Letter on Infrastructure to Chairman Barrasso (WY).  They include only the types of infrastructure which … Continue Reading

Flooding in Houston: Can We – Should We? – Plan for Such Massive Flooding Events?

All eyes are appropriately on Houston right now, where record rainfall has led to catastrophic flooding, loss of life, inestimable damages, and years if not decades of recovery and re-building. Around the country, many communities are now sitting up and paying more attention to that question, “what if that happened here?” Here in Sacramento, where … Continue Reading

A Quick Look at What’s Ahead on the Water Infrastructure Front

Today’s post features commentary from guest author Julie Minerva. I often joke with my clients that following issues too closely at the federal level can result in whiplash. To that regard, it has been a very active summer in Washington, DC on the water infrastructure front. Here’s a rapid fire look at some of the top items … Continue Reading

Trump Executive Order Issued on Federal Flood Risk Management Standard and Regulatory Reform

August 15, 2017 was a busy day for the Trump Administration. While interacting with the press and other politicians regarding the protests and counter-protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, the White House was also issuing an Executive Order with potentially far-reaching effects on flood management.… Continue Reading

USACE Releases FY17 Work Plan; Media Book Released on FY18 Budget Proposal

With not too much extra waiting, the key documents were released by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Instead of a long post, here are the key links to the documents you need: At this link you can expand the FY17 Work Plan (at the bottom) to see Investigations, Construction, etc. At this link you can … Continue Reading

Rumors of an Impending Work Plan to be Released with the Draft USACE Budget on May 23?? Well, Not Quite Yet.

Good day!  As many of you know, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had scheduled a press conference for Tuesday, May 23 to go over the President’s proposed USACE budget for FY18. The rumor had been that the FY17 Work Plan would be released at the same time. This would have been a pretty monumental … Continue Reading

The FY2017 Budget Continues to Support Army Corps Activities

On Friday May 5 President Trump signed the budget deal that allows the Federal government to move from its one week continuing resolution to an adopted budget for the 2017 Fiscal Year.  The budget deal includes a healthy set of appropriations for flood risk reduction and puts the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) on … Continue Reading

The Army Corps of Engineers, a Continuing Resolution Expiration, and a Congress That Hasn’t Yet Made Up Its Mind.

Today’s post features a collaboration between guest author Julie Minerva and Scott and Andrea. After a grueling six-week legislative stretch, Members of Congress have returned home for a two-week district work period (weeks of April 10 and April 17).  Senators are scheduled to return to the Capitol on Monday, April 24th, while the House of Representatives will follow one day behind … Continue Reading

The Trump Skinny Budget and Federal Flood Protection

Today’s post features a collaboration between guest author Julie Minerva and Scott and Andrea. This morning the Trump Administration released its America First Budget (aka the Skinny Budget) for FY18. The text of the document contains much of the same rhetoric you heard in the President’s inaugural address as the budget proposes to focus on advancing the … Continue Reading

2016 Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) Advances in the Senate with a Good CBO Score

Introduction The Senate’s Water Resources Development Act (WRDA – S.2848) would reduce the deficit by $6 million in its first decade, the Congressional Budget Office has said. This score makes it more likely that the bill may get floor time, although the very limited number of Congressional sessions between now and the election makes passage … Continue Reading
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