Infrastructure Appropriations Remain In Limbo
Washington Summit Scheduled For November 8th
Is There A
Gov't Shutdown Ahead?
America, Buy America" Final Guidance Released
Proposes New Overtime Rule
Act Webinar Held for NUCA Members
Final Rule Announced
Announces $50 Million Sewer Infrastructure Upgrade Grants
Affairs Action at Fall Convention
Washington Summit Dates: May 22-24, 2024
Muster Advocacy Alerts!
Going Strong Since 1976
Session, 118th Congress Schedule
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NUCA's Government Affairs Committee
The Newsletter of the NUCA
Governmental Affairs Department
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
Announces $50 Million Stormwater and Sewer Infrastructure Upgrade
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.
may now apply for grant assistance to fund projects that will help
municipalities strengthen their stormwater collection
The Sewer Overflow and Stormwater Reuse Municipal
Grant program will also ensure small and financially distressed
communities receive grant assistance at no cost.
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
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!
Thanks Our Many National Partners For Their Generous Support Of
NUCA's Washington Summit & Advocacy Programs
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
The official 2024 Congressional calendar is expected
to be released after Thanksgiving Day.
A full House-Senate Congressional calendar for 2023
can be downloaded
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
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.
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.