The Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2017, the legislation that funds the EPA’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF), Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF), and Water Infrastructure Financing Innovation Act (WIFIA) programs, may be, for the second year in a row, derailed by protests related to an entirely separate issue.
In late July 2015, the Interior Appropriations bill was pulled by then-Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), after Democrats successfully attached an amendment to the bill banning the display of the Confederate Flag on any federal land, essentially poisoning the bill.
This year, the House Democrats’ held a sit-in demanding action on gun-control measures, causing chaos in the House Chamber and forcing an early adjournment for a week-long recess before the 4th of July. The House was expected to take up the Financial Services Appropriations bill, but protests delayed that action which will likely bump the Interior Appropriations bill, which is on deck, out of the calendar previously scheduled week of July 4th. Democrats have promised to reconvene their protests, potentially causing greater delays or scrapping as neither the House or Senate are expected to be in-session during the Republican and Democratic Presidential Conventions July 18-21 and 25-28, respectively. The following week begins the five-week August Recess, making the next possible opportunity for consideration the second week of September.
We at CWC fully expect the House and Senate to enact robust increased appropriations for EPA’s SRF programs and capitalization of the WIFIA program with the full-authorized amount of $50 million. Anything less would reflect a lack of seriousness and understanding about America’s water infrastructure struggles and needs.
NUCA has set up an action alert for the House’s action on the Interior, Environment, and related Agencies Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2017. Please take a moment to send your Representative a letter requesting action and increased funding for water infrastructure.