Congress Is Back!

September 2023

FY2024 Water Infrastructure Appropriations Remain In Limbo

Virtual Washington Summit Scheduled For November 8th

Is There A Gov't Shutdown Ahead?

"Build America, Buy America" Final Guidance Released

USDOL Proposes New Overtime Rule

Davis-Bacon Act Webinar Held for NUCA Members

New WOTUS Final Rule Announced

EPA Announces $50 Million Sewer Infrastructure Upgrade Grants

Government Affairs Action at Fall Convention

2024 Washington Summit Dates: May 22-24, 2024

Current NUCA Muster Advocacy Alerts!

NUCA/PAC: Going Strong Since 1976

First Session, 118th Congress Schedule

NUCA Official Letters To Congress

Sign Up For NUCA Muster Advocacy Alerts!

Join NUCA's Government Affairs Committee

The Newsletter of the NUCA Governmental Affairs Department

FY2024 Water Infrastructure Appropriations Remain In Limbo

Congress returned on Sept. 5 for its fall legislative session, with this industry's FY2024 water infrastructure funding still unresolved. The Senate will begin passing its first FY2024 appropriations bills the week of Sept. 11. It is anticipated this fight will go on through Sept. 30 and across the fall. 

House Republicans have proposed nearly $2 billion in catastrophic cuts to the EPA State Revolving Fund programs, with most of the remaining funding allocated through earmarked grants instead of loans. If this level of funding is signed into law, it will effectively eliminate federal support for the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund programs in FY2024.

Meanwhile, the Senate Appropriations Committee has almost unanimously advanced a bipartisan bill that keeps SRF funding flat compared to FY2023 levels.

While these programs are in dire need of additional funding to be truly successful, in the face of proposed cuts looming over many other programs the Senate bill should still be counted as a win for water infrastructure. 

NUCA is taking action on a variety of fronts to address our FY2024 infrastructure resource needs--and we need you to be a part of our advocacy campaign! Please send our Muster letter to your lawmakers urging them to restore our State Revolving Fund funding to the final FY2024 appropriations bill.

Please take a minute to send your lawmaker your Muster letter--click here.

Virtual Washington Summit Scheduled For November 8th

NUCA will hold a virtual Washington Summit on Wednesday, Nov. 8 with lawmakers. Your Chapter will be scheduling online virtual meetings that day with your Congressional delegation to discuss FY2024 water infrastructure funding and the critical functions our projects provide to every American community. We'll also talk to lawmakers about FY2025 infrastructure funding, and other industry priorities.

"Cutting infrastructure spending is bad policy. Funding our nation’s drinking water infrastructure projects solely through earmarks is even worse policy," said Doug Carlson, NUCA chief executive officer.

"Taking away water infrastructure funding from the two EPA state revolving funds does not only hurt citizens in 2024—it shrinks the funding pool for years to come. Directed water infrastructure spending reduces the funds available over the long-term because earmarks are grants, rather than loans issued by the state revolving funds. States repay these loans, which are then recycled back as repaid capital. Earmarks do not repay these funding resources, and ultimately cost states an additional $458 million...Water and wastewater projects are the foundation every community uses for building a healthy, vibrant economy," exclaimed Carlson in his media statement on the House Appropriations bill.

Look in your inbox in the week ahead for more information about this virtual NUCA advocacy event, including registration and the day's schedule. NUCA's industry advocacy programs need your participation to make them powerfully effective.

Is There A Gov't Shutdown Ahead?

Congress faces several weeks of hard work if it is to meet its goal of passing 12 appropriations bills by Sept. 30 and avoid a government shutdown. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has committed his chamber to returning to regular order, which means 12 votes are needed in September, a very tall order. The House will try to advance the FY2024 Defense Department bill this week, followed by the State Department and Homeland Security bills in the week ahead.

So far, the House has only passed one FY2024 spending bill, and with no clear timeline for the other 11. Additionally, while the Senate has advanced all 12 bills through the Appropriations committee on a bipartisan and at times nearly unanimous basis, many of the House bills contain controversial policy riders which render them a non-starter with Democrats. 

If Congress can’t pass all 12 of its bills before the end of the month, lawmakers will need to agree to continuing resolution (CR) that allows the government to operate beyond October 1 at the same spending levels until either an agreement is made or the new deadline set by the CR passes. However, budget hardliners in the GOP House have said they aren't afraid of a government shutdown if it enforces significant policy reforms and spending cuts.

A government shutdown is a real possibility. NUCA members may be facing a shutdown affecting their federally financed projects – including the closure of federal offices and facilities – or are working as government contractors on federal construction projects that will face funding delays. The project contracting officer can advise companies on what will happen if a lengthy shutdown occurs.

The House and the Senate remain significantly far apart. Even after both chambers pass all 12 appropriations bills through their respective bodies, whatever comes out the other end of a conference committee negotiation will look much different.

NUCA is intensely engaging with key lawmakers on Capitol Hill and with our industry allies to ensure that infrastructure funding, and especially water and wastewater resources for the state revolving funds, builds upon and support those levels promised in the 2021 Infrastructure law, and that Congress and the Administration keep their commitment to repair and renew this nation's infrastructure and grow healthy communities and our economy.

"Build America, Buy America" Final Implementation Guidance Released

On August 14, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued long-awaited final guidance for federal agencies on the implementation of the Build America, Buy America (BABA) Act provisions of the 2021 core infrastructure law. BABA imposes Buy America preferences on certain “construction materials” and “manufactured products” used in all federally funded or federally-assisted infrastructure projects. 

The final guidance updates the list of construction materials subject to BABA to include “engineered wood,” and makes several other clarifications to materials classifications. The final guidance also provides key definitions for various BABA-related terns, and updates the specific manufacturing processes that must be performed in the United States for particular categories of construction material to be considered “produced in the United States.”

Consistent with earlier guidance, OMB’s guidance states that an item should not be considered to fall into multiple categories of manufactured products. An item should only be classified as either an iron or steel product, a construction material, or a manufactured product.

More here.

USDOL Proposes New Overtime Rule 

On August 30, 2023, the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) announced it will be proposing new regulations that would increase the number of employees who are considered non-exempt and therefore entitled to overtime compensation under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). 

Under the FLSA's “salary level test,” current regulations require an employee to be paid $684 per week ($35,568 per year) to meet the bona fide executive, administrative, or professional capacity exemption from overtime pay rules.

The USDOL is proposing to increase the pay necessary to meet the “salary level test” to $1,059 per week or $55,068 annually for a full-year worker. The department is also proposing to implement automatic updates to both salary levels every three years. 

The salary test was raised in 2020 by the Trump Administration to update the annual pay level, last updated in 2004. The Obama Administration tried in 2016 to raise it to about $48,000 annually but was defeated in court. As of today, USDOL has not yet officially published its Notice of Proposed Rule Making in the Federal Register.

USDOL has a FAQ page on their proposal found here.

Davis-Bacon Act Webinar Held for NUCA Members

NUCA held a webinar Sept. 12 for its contractor members who have federal contracts, or are working as subcontractors on federal projects, discussing USDOL's new final rule on changes to the Davis-Bacon Act. 

The U.S. Dept. of Labor announced its new Davis-Bacon regulations are effective October 23, less than three months away. These regulations will be enforced for projects receiving funding under the 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA).

Our two experts, Ben Brubeck of ABC and Jon Landesman, labor and employment attorney with the noted law firm Cohen Seglias of Philadelphia, discussed in-depth the new changes and how their compliance requirements will affect utility construction contractors and their employees. 

Their PowerPoint presentation is available at nuca.com/webinars.

Watch the webinar here.  

UPDATE: Send your lawmakers a letter demanding they roll back these Davis-Bacon Act changes!

Click here for our Davis-Bacon Act Muster action letter.

New WOTUS Final Rule Announced

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of the Army recently announced a final rule amending the 2023 definition of “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) to conform with the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in Sackett v. EPA

While the agencies' 2023 rule defining WOTUS was not directly before the Supreme Court, the decision in Sackett made clear that certain aspects of the 2023 rule are invalid. The amendments issued recently are limited and change only parts of the 2023 rule that are invalid under the Sackett v. EPA decision. For example, the final rule removes the significant nexus test from consideration when identifying tributaries and other waters as federally protected.

Because the sole purpose of this rule is to amend specific provisions of the 2023 Rule that are invalid under Sackett, the rule will take effect immediately.

More here.

EPA Announces $50 Million Stormwater and Sewer Infrastructure Upgrade Grants 

Earlier this month the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the availability of nearly $50 million in regular funding through the Sewer Overflow and Stormwater Reuse Municipal Grant program to help communities address stormwater and sewer infrastructure needs.

States may now apply for grant assistance to fund projects that will help municipalities strengthen their stormwater collection systems. 

The Sewer Overflow and Stormwater Reuse Municipal Grant program will also ensure small and financially distressed communities receive grant assistance at no cost.

More here.

Government Affairs Action at Convention

Combine your commitment to NUCA's governmental affairs program with a relaxing NUCA Convention experience! NUCA's Government Relations Committee meeting will be held Thursday, October 8, 7:30-8:30am. Topics to be discussed include FY2024 appropriations levels, the 2024 elections, NUCA-PAC, and NUCA's advocacy agenda for the next 12 months.

The theme of the fall Convention is "Build Your Business." NUCA has several business sessions scheduled for all attendees throughout the three-day schedule, including Common Ground Alliance Excavator Vice Chair John Fluharty discussing damage prevention, Vince Hafeli delivering his powerful talk on recognizing suicide risks at work, and our expert panel on working with railroads and their unique infrastructure requirements. 

The Government Affairs Committee meeting is open to all NUCA members, and all are invited to attend.

The 2023 NUCA Annual Convention & Exhibits will be held October 25-28 at the relaxing Naples Grande Beach Resort, in Naples, Florida. Registration for the 2023 Convention is now open at NUCAdigs.com.

2024 Washington Summit Dates: May 22-24, 2024

Start your planning: The 2024 Washington Summit will be held May 22-24, 2024, headquartered at the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill hotel, two blocks away from the U.S. Capitol Complex. 

Congress must be reminded in 2023 and 2024 that the water and wastewater resources allocated through the EPA's State Revolving Fund programs are a critical component this nation uses to improve public health, economic strength, job creation, and your business's success. The FY2025 appropriations process begins in spring 2024, and we need you in Washington to help us keep these vital federal resources flowing.

Registration will open later this year. We want to see you and your Chapter in Washington next spring!

NUCA Thanks Our Many National Partners For Their Generous Support Of NUCA's Washington Summit & Advocacy Programs

Current NUCA Muster Advocacy Alerts!

NUCA encourages each member to get involved in our association's Congressional advocacy campaign. And it is very easy to do so: just click on the Muster title links below to submit a pre-written letter to your own federal lawmakers about each issue, and let them know what is on your mind!

Withdraw or Overturn New Davis-Bacon Act (DBA) Rules! NUCA stands with other associations in expressing serious concerns about the scope of the proposed changes. Please send our short letter urging the Administration or Congress to withdraw or overturn the DBA final rule before it goes into effect on October 23, 2023. 

Restore Full SRF Funding in the FY2024 Appropriations Bill! The House's existing FY2024 Interior/EPA appropriations bill cuts a catastrophic $2 billion from federal clean water SRF programs. Tell Congress to restore this funding to the final appropriations bill!

Support the LIBERTY Campaign! This grassroots pro-business campaign supported by NUCA seeks to find common ground on uncontroversial border enforcement and immigration law reforms supported by both parties. 

Support the Fair and Open Competition Act (HR 1209/S 537)! This bill (called FOCA) supported by NUCA will stop government mandated Project-Labor Agreements (PLAs). It passed out of the House Oversight Committee on July 12 on a 22-20 vote, and now heads to the full House for a vote this session.

Elections and NUCA/PAC: Going Strong Since 1976


NUCA's Political Action Committee, NUCA/PAC, continues to be your strong voice on Capitol Hill - supporting pro-infrastructure policies, and defending your business against harmful laws and regulations that can affect your bottom line.

NUCA/PAC enables the American utility construction industry to approach vital public policy issues by helping to elect like-minded Members of Congress. 

Get engaged in the process by authorizing NUCA/PAC to share information with you and your employees. Federal law requires NUCA/PAC to first obtain your written permission to solicit your voluntary contributions.

Please click here for the NUCA/PAC authorization form. (You will need you NUCA member logon. If you do not have it, please contact NUCA's Lauren Hensley at lauren@nuca.com or 703-358-9300.)

2022 proved to be an exciting election cycle for Congress. NUCA/PAC will be more engaged and involved in 2024--let's make our industry's PAC the strongest it can be.

Record All Your Jobsite Incidents With Just One App: NUCA WINS


The newly released NUCA WINS 3.0 offers even more valuable new features and enhancements. NUCA WINS 3.0 allows multiple incidents to be linked together in one documented event.

Whether your supervisors need to document injury, damage, or safety events, they can now do it all from one convenient, intuitive app, right on their tablet or smartphone.

Your company will benefit from accurate and timely reporting, and receive immediate notification in case of any jobsite incidents. Those NUCA members using the app say they wish they had it years ago. It's worth checking out.

NUCA WINS 3.0 is your one-stop app for all adverse event recording and tracking.

Visit NUCAWins.com to learn more and schedule a demo of the app.

NUCA WINS Logo B 08-17-20.jpg

First Session, 118th Congress Schedule

Congress returned from its summer August "district work session" on September 5. Both chambers will be in session beginning September 12th until October 6th when they break for the Columbus Day recess. 

The 118th Congress must finish work on their 12 FY2024 appropriations bills by September 30. No one is expecting that to happen (the appropriations process was last completed on time back in 1996), so a short-term "continuing resolution" spending agreement must be passed before October 1 to avoid a government shut-down. 

Congress will be in session October 16 through November 17, when it will take a week off for Thanksgiving Day. Returning to work on November 27, they are scheduled to stay in session until December 15, when they will recess for the remainder of 2023. And it is expected that they will use every single day to resolve its unfinished business, which will likely include this industry's SDF appropriations.

Both chambers return to start the Second Session, 118th Congress on January 3, 2024. Election politics will fill the legislative calendar, along with any remaining FY2024 or upcoming FY2025 appropriations.

The official 2024 Congressional calendar is expected to be released after Thanksgiving Day.

A full House-Senate Congressional calendar for 2023 can be downloaded here.

NUCA Official Letters To Congress & Federal Agencies

No comment letters were issued in August.

´╗┐All formal NUCA correspondence with Congress and federal regulatory agencies can be found and read at nuca.com/letters.

Sign Up For NUCA Muster Advocacy Alerts!

Did you use our Muster system this month to let Congress know your opinion of their funding priorities? If you're a NUCA member, your Washington governments affairs team wants you to be part of our Capitol Hill advocacy program! NUCA urges you to sign up to receive our Muster advocacy alerts. These emails will alert you to pending legislative action where your opinion can make a difference.

It's easy to sign up via the link below. Use your personal home address if you can do so, since our online Muster advocacy program finds your members of Congress via your voter registration address. But business addresses work just as well to receive our alerts.

I'm a NUCA member and I want to receive NUCA's Advocacy Alerts!

For Breaking Legislative News:

Follow @NUCA_National on Twitter!

Join NUCA's Government Affairs Committee!

If you enjoy analyzing politics and find the inner workings of Congress and our industry's legislative program interesting or useful to your business, why not take the next step and join NUCA's Government Affairs Committee? Membership is open to all NUCA members, and we welcome the active participation of those seeking to make a difference in their industry, and to help shape NUCA's official policies on legislation.

Help shape the legislative and advocacy program of your association. Contact NUCA's Vice President of Government Affairs Zack Perconti to get started today.

The House's Cannon HOB subsurface

infrastructure being rebuilt, 2019. Photos: AoC.

National Utility Contractors Association

Governmental Affairs Department

3925 Chain Bridge Rd., Suite 300

Fairfax, Virginia 22039

703-358-9300


AZUCA Arizona Chapter of NUCA

2303 N. 44th St. Ste 14-1104

Phoenix, AZ 85008

(970) 376-1190

Christine@nuca.com

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