Infrastructure Bill Could be Packaged with Tax Reform
There has been considerable discussion on the Hill and in the Trump Administration about the prospects of combining a large-scale infrastructure bill with comprehensive tax reform. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin recently met with the Problem Solvers Caucus, a group of 20 Democrats and 20 Republicans working to find common ground on tax reform and infrastructure. The White House intends to craft its own tax reform proposal, independent from House Republicans’ efforts, and there is limited consensus within the Republican party on the particulars or even the pay-fors for tax reform. This White House effort could signal that President Trump intends to propose a type of tax reform bill that has eluded congressional leaders: one that can gain Democratic support.
While the Administration has provided few details on its expected infrastructure bill, the most likely legislation to carry revenues needed to pay for the legislation’s promised investments would be comprehensive tax reform. President Trump has recently expressed his willingness to partly fund infrastructure investment through a repatriation tax holiday whereby earnings held abroad by U.S. companies would be taxed at a lower rate when brought back to the U.S. during the period of the tax holiday.
Senate Commerce Committee to Consider Rosen’s Nomination to be DOT Deputy Secretary Soon
Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee Chairman John Thune (R-SD) said he wants to markup Jeffrey Rosen’s nomination to be Deputy Secretary at the Department of Transportation (DOT) this week, if Mr. Rosen’s paperwork can be finalized in time. During his nomination hearing before the Committee last week, Mr. Rosen faced several pointed questions about his support for the Administration’s proposed cuts to the Essential Air Service (EAS) program and the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant program. In response, Mr. Rosen said that it would be his role to support the Administration’s priorities, noting that the Administration has indicated a desire to fund infrastructure through the most efficient programs.
Many Members of Congress Seeking to Protect New Starts Funding
Dear Colleague letters are circulating in the House and Senate to encourage Appropriators to fund the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) Capital Investment Grants program (commonly referred to as New Starts) at levels authorized in the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. These efforts are in response to President Trump’s FY 2018 “Skinny Budget,” which zeroed out the TIGER grant program and limited New Starts funding to only projects that have signed Full Funding Grant Agreements (FFGAs), and the President’s recommendation to provide $1.7 billion in FY 2017 for New Starts –again, an amount sufficient to cover only projects with signed FFGAs. Reps. Jackie Walorski (R-IN) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) are leading the effort in the House, while Sens. Dick Durbin (D-IL), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Patty Murray (D-WA), and Brian Schatz (D-HI) are leading the effort in the Senate.
House and Senate Committees to Hold FAA Hearings
Both of the subcommittees responsible for aviation authorization in the House Transportation and Infrastructure and Senate Commerce committees will hold hearings his week on Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization. The current FAA authorization expires on September 30, 2017, and Congress is expected to consider a long-term reauthorization this year.
On Tuesday, April 4, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Aviation will hold a hearing titled “Building a 21st Century Infrastructure for America: Enabling Innovation in the National Airspace.” The witnesses will be representatives from FAA, FlyGlo LLC, Airmap, Virgin Galactic, Amazon Prime Air, and VDOS Global.
On Thursday, April 6, the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Subcommittee on Aviation Operations, Safety, and Security will hold a hearing titled “FAA Reauthorization: Perspectives on Rural Air Service and the General Aviation Community.” The witnesses will be representatives from Pierre, SD, the U.S. Contract Tower Association, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.
This Week’s Hearings:
- On Tuesday, April 4, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on the Environment has scheduled a hearing to discuss the following:
- “Brownfields Reauthorization Draft.”
- On Tuesday, April 4, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Aviation has scheduled a hearing titled “Building a 21st Century Infrastructure for America: Enabling Innovation in the National Airspace.” The witnesses will be:
- Shelly J. Yak, Director, William J. Hughes Technical Center, Federal Aviation Administration;
- Calvin Clifford “Trey” Fayard, III, Chief Executive Officer, FlyGlo LLC;
- Gregory McNeal, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder, Airmap;
- Michael P. Moses, President, Virgin Galactic;
- Sean Cassidy, Director, Safety and Regulatory Affairs, Amazon Prime Air; and
- Brian Whiteside, President, VDOS Global.
- On Tuesday, April 4, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation has scheduled a hearing titled “Authorization of Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Programs.” The witnesses will be:
- Admiral Paul F. Zukunft, Commandant, United States Coast Guard;
- Master Chief Steven W. Cantrell, Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard, United States Coast Guard;
- Michael A. Khouri, Acting Chairman, Federal Maritime Commission; and
- Joel Szabat, Executive Director, in Lieu of the Administrator, Maritime Administration.
- On Tuesday, April 4, the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security has scheduled a hearing titled “Defeating a Sophisticated and Dangerous Adversary: Are the New Border Security Task Forces the Right Approach?” The witnesses will be:
- Vice Admiral Karl Schultz, Director, Joint Task Force – East, U.S. Department of Homeland Security;
- Chief Paul A. Beeson, Commander, Joint Task Force-West, U.S. Department of Homeland Security;
- Janice Ayala, Director, Joint Task Force-Investigations, Homeland Security Investigations; and
- Rebecca Gambler, Director, Homeland Security and Justice Issues, U.S. Government Accountability Office.
- On Tuesday, April 4, the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water, Power, and Oceans has scheduled a hearing to discuss the following:
- R. 220 – To authorize the expansion of the existing Terror Lake hydroelectric project, and for other purposes;
- R. 1411 – Exempts the summer flounder fishing from current federal fishery regulations; and
- Discussion Draft of H.R. ____ – To amend the Reclamation Project Act of 1939 to authorize pumped storage hydropower development utilizing multiple Bureau of Reclamation reservoirs.
- On Tuesday, April 4, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies has scheduled a hearing titled “National Water Hazards & Vulnerabilities: Improved Forecasting for Response & Mitigation.” The witnesses will be:
- Louis Uccellini, NOAA Assistant Administrator, Weather Services, Director, National Weather Service;
- Antonio Busalacchi, President, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research;
- Mary Glackin, Senior Vice President for Public-Private Partnerships, The Weather Company, IBM; and
- Bryan Koon, Director, Florida, Division of Emergency Management, Former President, National Emergency Managers Association.
- On Tuesday, April 4, the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety, and Security has scheduled a hearing titled “Keeping Goods Moving: Continuing to Enhance Multimodal Freight Policy and Infrastructure.” The witnesses will be:
- Derek J. Leathers, President and Chief Executive Officer, Werner Enterprises;
- Lance M. Fritz, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Union Pacific;
- Michael L. Ducker, President and Chief Executive Officer, FedEx Freight; and
- James Pelliccio, President and Chief Executive Officer, Port Newark Container Terminal.
- On Tuesday, April 4, the Senate Energy and National Resources Committee has scheduled a hearing “To examine efforts to protect U.S. energy delivery systems from cybersecurity threats.” The witnesses will be:
- Patricia Hoffman, Acting Assistant Secretary, Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, U.S. Department of Energy;
- Andrew Bochman, Senior Cyber and Energy Security Strategist, Idaho National Laboratory;
- Gerry Cauley, President and CEO, Northern American Electric Reliability Corporation;
- Duane D. Highley, President and CEO, Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation;
- Dave McCurdy, President and Chief Executive Officer, American Gas Association; and
- Colonel Gent Welsh, Chief of Staff, Washington National Guard, Vice Commander, 194th
- On Tuesday, April 4, the Senate Homeland Security Committee has scheduled a hearing titled “Fencing Along the Southwest Border.” The witnesses will be:
- David Aguilar, Former Acting Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security;
- Ronald Colburn, Former Deputy Chief of the U.S. Border Patrol at U.S. Customs and Border Protection at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security; and
- Terence M. Garrett, Ph.D., Professor and Chair, Public Affairs and Security Studies Department, The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.
- On Wednesday, April 5, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation has scheduled a hearing titled “FAST (Fixing America’s Surface Transportation) Act Implementation: State and Local Perspectives.” The witnesses will be:
- Michael Patterson, executive director of the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, representing the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials;
- Gary Thomas, president and executive director of Dallas Area Rapid Transit, representing the American Public Transportation Association; and
- Atlanta, Ga. Mayor Kasim Reed, representing the United States Conference of Mayors.
- On Wednesday, April 5, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has scheduled a hearing titled “Oversight of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Response to the Baton Rouge Flood Disaster: Part II.” The witnesses will be announced.
- On Wednesday, April 5, the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee has scheduled an Executive Session to discuss the following:
- 763 – Surface and Maritime Transportation Security Act;
- 61 – A bill to remove the sunset provision of section 203 of Public Law 105-384 (the Dungeness Crabs bill);
- 74 – Marine Oil Spill Prevention Act;
- 396 – A bill to make technical amendments to certain marine fish conservation statutes;
- 701 – A bill to improve the competitiveness of United States manufacturing by designating and supporting manufacturing communities;
- 755 – Fairness for Pilots Acts;
- 756 – Save Our Seas Act of 2017; and
- 770 – Making Available Information Now to Strengthen Trust and Resilience and Enhance Enterprise Technology (MAIN STREET) Cybersecurity Act.
- On Wednesday, April 5, the Senate Homeland Security Committee has scheduled a hearing titled “Improving Border Security and Public Safety.” The witnesses will be:
- The Honorable John F. Kelly, Secretary, U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
- On Thursday, April 6, the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Subcommittee on Aviation Operations, Safety, and Security has scheduled a hearing titled “FAA Reauthorization: Perspectives on Rural Air Service and the General Aviation Community.” The witnesses will be:
- The Honorable Laurie Gill, Mayor, Pierre, S.D.;
- Spencer Dickerson, Executive Director of U.S. Contract Tower Association, an affiliated organization of the American Association of Airport Executives;
- Mark Baker, President & CEO, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association; and
- Guy M. Smith, Professor Emeritus, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.