- Congress Considers Short-Term Continuing Resolution as Feb. 18 Budget Deadline Looms
- Biden Administration Issues Funding Guide for the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law
- Roundtable Members Support NYC Coalition to Reduce Crime and Increase Public Safety
Congress Considers Short-Term Continuing Resolution as Feb. 18 Budget Deadline Looms
House Democratic leaders, facing a heavy agenda and a Feb. 18 government funding deadline, are considering a three-week stopgap funding bill to allow appropriators more time to complete 2022 spending bills. (RollCall, Feb. 4)
- The House may vote early next week on a possible “Continuing Resolution” (CR) to extend current funding levels through March 11 and avoid a possible government shutdown. A CR would also require Senate approval. (CQ, Feb. 4)
- Negotiations among congressional appropriations leaders to reach a deal on a bipartisan omnibus bill for FY202 – which runs from Oct. 1, 2021 through Sept. 30, 2022 – have stalled on reaching top-line spending levels for defense and domestic funding. (The Hill, Feb. 1)
- This would be the third government funding stopgap for the fiscal year that began Oct. 1.
- Yesterday, Senate Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Richard Shelby (R-AL) stated that the length of time agreed upon for another CR extension would reflect whether Democrats and Republicans can agree to a funding deal. “If it’s a short-term [CR], that would mean probably that we’re making some progress, real progress,” Shelby said. “If it’s longer, we might go … for the rest of the year.” (The Hill, Feb. 3)
A Demanding Agenda
- A crowded congressional agenda – including what may be next for the stalled Build Back Better (BBB) Act, international geopolitics, and action on President Biden’s upcoming Supreme Court nominee – adds pressure for policymakers to reach agreement on a spending bill.
- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), above, yesterday noted the urgency to reach an omnibus funding agreement. She stated, “We're hoping to get that done as soon as possible in terms of … the omnibus bill.” Pelosi added, “One connection between infrastructure and omnibus is that some of the money in the infrastructure bill cannot be freed up until we pass the omnibus bill," she said. (Pelosi Weekly Press Conference, Feb. 3)
- Separately, the impact of the FY2022 funding negotiations are unlikely to affect the timing for congressional consideration of how to pare down the BBB Act (H.R. 5376), according to House Ways and Means Chair Richard Neal (D-MA) and Senate Finance Chair Ron Wyden (D-OR). Both policymakers said they did not want to set an “artificial” deadline for potential revisions to the stalled proposal. (Tax Notes, Feb. 3 and Roundtable Weekly, Jan. 21)
- As FY2022 spending negotiations continue, The Washington Post reported today that the White House may request additional federal funding from Congress to aid pandemic recovery as current funding for preparedness is starting to dwindle.
President Biden is also expected to start the next fiscal year cycle with the release of his fiscal budget request for 2023 – shortly after his State of the Union address on March 1.
# # #
Biden Administration Issues Funding Guide for the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law
The White House on Jan. 31 released its guidebook to funding for the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the $1.2 trillion bipartisan measure signed into law last year. (The Hill, Jan. 31 and (Roundtable Weekly, Jan. 21)
Roadmap to Infrastructure Funding
- The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Guidebook is a key tool for states and local governments to apply for federal grants, loans, and public-private partnership resources under more than 375 infrastructure investment programs.
- Mitch Landrieu, White House Senior Advisor and Infrastructure Implementation Coordinator, stated, “Our primary goal is to empower people across the country with information, so they know what to apply for, who to contact, and how to get ready to rebuild.” (White House news release, Jan. 31)
- The White House last week also outlined steps for cities and mayors to prepare for funding applications. Landrieu on Jan. 4 sent a request to all of the nation's governors, urging them to appoint their own infrastructure implementation coordinators to work on the smooth disbursement of funds over the next several years.
Support for Infrastructure Important to CRE
The Guidebook consolidates information on the funding available from myriad federal agencies to build and repair infrastructure assets that are positive for local communities and commercial real estate, including:
A total of $40 billion is dedicated for bridges, including $12.5 billion for a new DOT grant program to replace or rehabilitate some of the nation’s most economically significant bridges. (Roads, Bridges and Major Projects section.)
- Transit-Oriented Development
The infrastructure law invests $91.2 billion to repair and modernize mass transit. (Public Transportation section). The public-private TIFIA loan program receives $1.25 billion in funding with expanded authorities to assist airport and transit-oriented development projects. (Major Projects section).
- Passenger Rail
$36 billion is available for federal-state partnership grants to repair existing rail routes or establish new intercity service. Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor benefits from a $6 billion grant program. (Passenger Rail section)
- EV Charging
$7.5 billion in grants is available to help build out a national network of 500,000 electric vehicle chargers – particularly along highway corridors to facilitate long-distance travel and within disadvantaged communities. (Electric Vehicles section)
- Clean Energy
The infrastructure law will deploy more than $20 billion in federal financing tools to deliver clean power. The U.S. Department of Energy in January launched the “Building a Better Grid” Initiative to catalyze construction of electric transmission lines that can deliver solar, wind, and other renewable energy over long distances. (Clean Energy and Power section and DOE website)
- Superfund Clean-up Program
The law provides $3.5 billion for the Environmental Protection Agency’s Superfund program to clean up some of the nation’s most contaminated sites. (EPA news release, Dec. 20, 2021)
A set of funding sources aim to make transformative investments in disadvantaged and low-income communities. (Supporting Underserved Communities section) For example, $1 billion is devoted to a “Reconnecting Communities” competitive grant program that can remove or retrofit highways built decades ago that isolated low-income neighborhoods.
Future versions of the guidebook will update key timelines for program implementation, best practices, case studies, and links to resources developed by the White House.
# # #
Roundtable Members Support NYC Coalition to Reduce Crime and Increase Public Safety
A coalition of more than 230 business, civic, and labor leaders – including 16 Real Estate Roundtable members – on Jan. 31 expressed broad support for New York City Mayor Eric Adams’s efforts to increase public safety in the wake of a series of violent crimes across the city. New York is one of several cities across the nation facing a spike in crime since the start of the pandemic. (Partnership for New York City letter, Jan. 31 | Reuters and CQ, Feb. 3)
Private Sector Support
- Roundtable Board Member Rob Speyer (President and CEO, Tishman Speyer), above, and Steven Swartz (President and CEO, Hearst) – Co-Chairs of the Partnership for New York City – stated, “We support Mayor Adams’ comprehensive approach to reducing crime and gun violence. The return of the pre-pandemic vibrancy of our city depends on his success.” (New York City’s website)
- The coalition letter also noted, “New York cannot recover from the devastating impacts of the pandemic without first restoring the sense of personal security that every resident, worker, visitor, and community in our city has the right to expect.”
- “[I]t is equally necessary to invest in mental health care and alleviate conditions that contribute to violent behavior” such as homelessness, the letter explains.
- Roundtable President and CEO Jeffrey DeBoer, above, stated, “The Real Estate Roundtable is highly supportive of governmental efforts nationally and locally to address violent behavior, substance abuse, homelessness, and joblessness. We join with our New York-based leaders in supporting efforts to address these troubling realities in New York City and we applaud President Biden for his announcement this week on community safety.”
- The coalition letter comes a week after Adams proposed a comprehensive Blueprint to End Gun Violence. President Biden and Attorney General Merrick Garland yesterday traveled to New York to offer federal support to the plan of Adams and New York Gov. Kathy Hochul to crack down on illegal guns coming into the state. (New York Daily News and Reuters, Feb. 3)
The White House yesterday announced President Biden’s plan to urge Congress to allocate $500 million more to combat gun violence into a fiscal 2022 spending package. (White House Announcement, Feb. 3)
# # #