Public-Private Partnerships ( P3s) can be a major component of strategies to solve national infrastructure problems.

In recent testimony before a U.S. Senate panel,  Mitch Daniels, one time governor of Indiana, director of the Office of Management and Budget and now president of Purdue University, shared his thoughts on how public-private partnerships( P3s) can be a major component of strategies to solve national infrastructure problems.

While testifying before the U.S. Senate Finance Committee on his state’s effective use of P3s to build infrastructure projects, Daniels offered several pieces of advice on how ensure their efficacy. He urged Congress to encourage states’ use of P3s to finance upgrades to existing assets, not just to fund new construction, and as a way of generating revenue. He also urged Congress to allow states to continue to carry debt on tax exempt bonds that were issued to fund new construction when entering into a P3 to expand or improve that project. Currently, states must pay off the debt or finance it as taxable bonds at a potentially higher interest rate, he pointed out.

Daniels called on states to invest revenues from P3 infrastructure projects in similar projects rather than spending it on current government operations. He also encouraged the federal government to change and expand programs that permit states to charge tolls on new, expanded or reconstructed interstate facilities in order to pay for infrastructure projects and attract partners that would be willing to bear most or all of the financial risk.

As governor, Daniels used the $3.8 billion sale of a 75-year lease for the Indiana Toll Road to fund a 10-year initiative, now in its ninth year, to build more than 100 new infrastructure projects and more than 1,000 bridges. “We became the only state in the union to have a fully-funded, 10-year infrastructure plan that required no new taxes and no new debt,” said Daniels. (Credit AP).

The state also put $500 million into a permanent trust fund to finance future projects. Under the toll road sale — which, in the state’s hands, was valued at no more than $1.92 billion because of the cost to the state to collect the tolls — the private partner agreed to upgrade, maintain and operate the road and be paid through the tolls it collected. The partner also agreed to expand lanes, add electric tolling and make other improvements valued at an additional $450 million. To prevent taxpayers from bearing a burden, the tolls were to remain at 1985 rates for passenger cars for 10 years and rate increases were limited to inflation, GDP growth or 2 percent.

The poor economy reduced the road’s anticipated use and the private operator of the toll road, which had to absorb the loss, declared bankruptcy last year; another firm stepped in to purchase the lease.

Daniels described two other successful P3 infrastructure projects that the state negotiated during his tenure as governor. The Ohio River Bridges project started out as a joint Indiana-Kentucky venture to be paid for with state and federal funds. When both legislatures decided to permit P3s as a financing option, Indiana negotiated an availability payment P3 for one of the bridges through which a private partner would finance, build and maintain the bridge for 35 years. The states would set and collect the tolls, using the revenue to compensate the private partners. The cost of building the bridge, which is scheduled for completion next year, will be $225 million less — a 23 percent savings — than the original estimate, reported Daniels. “Most importantly, over the next 50 years, the project is expected to generate an average of 15,000 jobs a year and a total of $30 billion in personal income and $87 billion in economic output for the region.” (Credit AP).

Another project was the Cline Avenue Bridge, which had been condemned due to structural weaknesses in 2009. The state negotiated a P3 that called for the private partner to fully finance the construction of a replacement bridge, with no risk to the government, invest $3 million in improvements to a state road leading to it and return a share of all toll revenue to the local community. Carefully devised P3 agreements like this can protect taxpayers from incurring the risks inherent in big infrastructure projects funded and conducted by the state, Daniels said.

By: Martin J. Milita, Jr. Esq., Sr. Director.

Please feel free to contact the author or your other Duane Morris Government Strategies LLC contact to learn more about this article and what it may mean to you.

About Duane Morris Government Strategies, LLC (DMGS):

Comprised of 19 experienced professionals representing U.S. and foreign clients at the federal, state and local levels, DMGS is as an ancillary business of international law firm Duane Morris LLP, one of the 100 largest law firms with more than 700 attorneys in the U.S. as well as in the UK and Asia. The firm operates in eight offices including Newark, NJ; Trenton, NJ; Albany, NY; Harrisburg, PA; Philadelphia, PA; Pittsburgh, PA; Columbus, OH; and Washington, DC.

DMGS offers a full range of government relations and public affairs services, including lobbying, grant identification/writing/administration, development finance consulting, procurement, grassroots campaigning, public relations, and crisis planning/crisis management needs.

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NJ Bill Spells Out Biodiesel Fuel Tax Exemptions

The New Jersey Assembly on Thursday unanimously passed bipartisan legislation that clarified biodiesel fuel exemptions under the Motor Fuels Tax Act, paving the way for an economic growth spurt in what legislators say is an expanding industry.

The law redefines the biodiesel fuel exemption to “more specifically apply to biobased liquid fuel and bidodiesel fuel,” according to its language, and lists dozens of exemptions for consumers and suppliers, who can claim tax refunds as a result. Currently, the biodiesel fuel exemption is “generally limited to any motor fuel that is derived from agricultural products or animal fats,” the law said. (Credit AP).

Assemblywomen Holly Schepisi, R- Bergen and Passaic, and L. Grace Spencer, D-Essex, sponsored the Assembly version, A4121, which was replaced by the Senate version, S-2599, and passed 76-0. The Senate had given the legislation 38-0 approval in March.

“New Jersey’s geographics makes it a perfect fit for the development of local biofuel production. The growing industry has its sights set on New Jersey, but we are one of only two states in the U.S. that does not have statutes in place for converting natural fats, greases and plants into renewable, clean biofuel in an environmentally friendly way,” Schepisi said in statement after the vote. (Credit AP).

The legislation sends a message to fuel producers that New Jersey is open for business, Schepisi said, and noted that one biodiesel plant can create 200 construction jobs, 35 to 40 “long-term, good-paying” jobs for plant employees and more than 800 jobs in related industries such as trucking and agriculture.

“The industry is experiencing rapid growth, and it is time for New Jersey to get in on the action,” she said. “The expansion of this new industry into our state will put thousands of people to work and ignite needed economic growth waterfront and trackside industrial areas.” (Credit AP).

The Assembly version of the bill was introduced in February and reviewed by the Assembly’s Environment and Solid Waste and Budget committees. The Senate version was sponsored by Sens. Bob Smith, D-Middlesex, and Christopher Bateman, R-Somerset.

Consumers can claim refunds for for fuel used in more than 18 ways, including aircraft, certain autobuses, ambulances, farm machinery, fire engines and motor boats, under the law. Refunds will be given provided there is proof that tax was paid and no refund was previously issued.

Suppliers and distributors can claim refunds for certain exported fuels; certain undyed kerosene; fuel sold to the a federal or state agency or its political subdivisions, departments and agencies; aviation fuel sold to a licensed aviation fuel dealer; liquefied petroleum gas except when delivered to the tank of a highway vehicle; contaminated motor fuel unsuitable for use; fuel returned to a refinery for further processing; certain fuel-grade alcohol or biobased liquid fuel; and fuel that could generate a second tax as result of being exported, sold or distributed, according to the legislation.

Making the state more business friendly to the fuel industries was one of the goals of sweeping changes that New Jersey made to the Motor Fuels Tax Act in 2010. According to a public notice about the changes, modifications would be made to the licensing, reporting and imposition and collection in order to create a more business-friendly environment, simplify tax collection and increase enforcement.

By: Martin J. Milita, Jr. Esq., Sr. Director.

Please feel free to contact the author or your other Duane Morris Government Strategies LLC contact to learn more about this article and what it may mean to you.

About Duane Morris Government Strategies, LLC (DMGS):

Comprised of 19 experienced professionals representing U.S. and foreign clients at the federal, state and local levels, DMGS is as an ancillary business of international law firm Duane Morris LLP, one of the 100 largest law firms with more than 700 attorneys in the U.S. as well as in the UK and Asia. The firm operates in eight offices including Newark, NJ; Trenton, NJ; Albany, NY; Harrisburg, PA; Philadelphia, PA; Pittsburgh, PA; Columbus, OH; and Washington, DC.

DMGS offers a full range of government relations and public affairs services, including lobbying, grant identification/writing/administration, development finance consulting, procurement, grassroots campaigning, public relations, and crisis planning/crisis management needs.

New Jersey Governor takes on Legislature’s Budget

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Monday whittled down a Democrat-backed budget to $32.5 billion and rejected measures that would have hiked taxes on those earning more than $1 million as well as increasing the state’s corporate business tax.

As many expected, the governor, a Republican, signed a state budget for the new fiscal year but only after taking his line-item veto to the $34.1 billion spending plan that the Democrat-controlled Legislature approved Thursday and using absolute vetoes to sink related bills that would have instituted the income tax and corporate business tax increases.

“Rather than enacting responsible policies that will encourage and allow New Jersey’s economy and revenues to grow, the Legislature appears to be intent on inhibiting economic growth with crushing taxes,” the governor said in a message accompanying the line-item veto.

The Democrats’ plan also included a $2.25 billion contribution to the state’s pension system, which the governor nixed in favor of the $681 million payment that he previously recommended as part of a $2.4 billion reduction in contributions for fiscal years 2014 and 2015.

A judge on Wednesday refused to block Christie from cutting nearly $900 million from the pension contribution for fiscal year 2014 but declined to rule on matters related to fiscal year 2015, since the governor and lawmakers have yet to finalize a budget. The state has a constitutional deadline of July 1 to adopt a balanced budget.

Under lawmakers’ proposal, the marginal tax rate for incomes above $1 million would have increased from 8.97 to 10.75 percent for tax years 2014 through 2016, while the corporate business tax would have risen from 9 to 10.35 percent through a one-year surcharge. Those changes would have respectively generated an estimated $723 million and $389 million in revenue for the cash-strapped state.

In his veto messages, the governor said that increasing taxes on businesses and “highly productive taxpayers” would drive them out of the state.

“I strongly believe that punitively raising taxes on our already overtaxed residents and business owners is not the answer to the state’s short- and long-term fiscal challenges,” the governor said. “This bill would accomplish nothing more than to repeat the failed, irresponsible and unsustainable policies that were commonplace in Trenton for years before my administration.” (Credit AP).

The bill implementing the so-called millionaire’s tax would have also permanently increased the state earned income tax credit from 20 percent to 25 percent of the federal earned income tax credit. Christie said he supported increasing the credit but only as part of a broader plan to lower the tax burden for New Jerseyans across the board.

Also failing to secure gubernatorial approval on Monday was a measure that would have required the state to make contributions to the state’s pension systems on a quarterly basis. Such pension payments have historically been made at the end of the fiscal year.

“This bill represents an improper and unwarranted intrusion upon the long-standing executive prerogative to determine the appropriate timing of payments in order to properly match the timing of large annual expenditures with the timing of the actual receipt of state revenues,” the governor said in his veto message.

In a statement, Senate President Steve Sweeney, D-Gloucester, defended the Democrats’ budget as a “fiscally responsible plan that would have honored the state’s commitments and increased funding for critical services.” (Credit AP).

“The governor, however, has decided to continue protecting the state’s wealthiest at the expense of the middle class and working poor,” Sweeney said. “His belief in punishing the middle class is one of the reasons New Jersey’s economy continues to lag behind that of our neighbors and the nation, while working people suffer the brunt of the consequences.” (Credit AP).

By: Martin J. Milita, Jr. Esq., Sr. Director.

Please feel free to contact the author or your other Duane Morris Government Strategies LLC contact to learn more about this article and what it may mean to you.

About Duane Morris Government Strategies, LLC (DMGS):

Comprised of 19 experienced professionals representing U.S. and foreign clients at the federal, state and local levels, DMGS is as an ancillary business of international law firm Duane Morris LLP, one of the 100 largest law firms with more than 700 attorneys in the U.S. as well as in the UK and Asia. The firm operates in eight offices including Newark, NJ; Trenton, NJ; Albany, NY; Harrisburg, PA; Philadelphia, PA; Pittsburgh, PA; Columbus, OH; and Washington, DC.

DMGS offers a full range of government relations and public affairs services, including lobbying, grant identification/writing/administration, development finance consulting, procurement, grassroots campaigning, public relations, and crisis planning/crisis management needs.

Lawmakers in New Jersey and New York Pass Port Authority Transparency Bills

The New Jersey Senate on Thursday unanimously approved legislation that would subject the Port Authority to the open records laws of both New Jersey and New York, just a day after the New York Assembly passed a bill to reform the bi-state agency by making it operate more transparently.

In a news release Thursday, New Jersey’s Senate Democrats said the open records measure, sponsored by Sens. Bob Gordon, D-Bergen, and Loretta Weinberg, D-Bergen, includes technical changes recommended by the governor and is a counterpart to legislation approved by the New York Legislature and signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in December.

Under New Jersey bill S-2183, the Port Authority would be required to abide by the Open Public Records Act of New Jersey and the Freedom of Information Law of New York. Although the Port Authority adopted new policies and procedures concerning public access to its records late last year, the public does not have recourse to challenge the agency in court if the requested documents are not provided, because the authority is not subject to either state’s open records law, the release said.

The bill’s sponsors, who last week applauded parts of the New York Assembly bill but said it didn’t go far enough to ensure New Jersey’s voice would be heard on transportation issues, said in a statement Thursday that their bill helps bring some accountability to the Port Authority but more reforms are needed to overhaul the agency and protect state interests.

Approval of the New Jersey bill comes on the heels of the New York Assembly’s passage of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Transparency and Accountability Act of 2015, sponsored by Rep. James F. Brennan, D-Brooklyn. That bill, which was endorsed by Cuomo and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie last week, would replace the agency’s executive director and deputy with a new chief executive, prohibit the chairperson and commissioners from simultaneously holding staff positions and rotate the chairmanship every two years between the two states, among other measures.

Additionally, the Port Authority would be required to conduct a needs assessment and public hearings before raising tolls and fares, Assembly Speaker Carl E. Heastie said in a news release Wednesday. Enhanced annual reports, financial audits, and publication of capital plan and advance debt issuance reports would likewise be required.

The reform bills come after recent calls for enhanced transparency at the agency, which has been embroiled in the George Washington Bridge scandal, and has been characterized by Christie and Cuomo as a “dysfunctional organization suffering from a lack of consistent leadership,” according to the Assembly’s release.

By: Martin J. Milita, Jr. Esq., Sr. Director.

Please feel free to contact the author or your other Duane Morris Government Strategies LLC contact to learn more about this article and what it may mean to you.

About Duane Morris Government Strategies, LLC (DMGS):

Comprised of 19 experienced professionals representing U.S. and foreign clients at the federal, state and local levels, DMGS is as an ancillary business of international law firm Duane Morris LLP, one of the 100 largest law firms with more than 700 attorneys in the U.S. as well as in the UK and Asia. The firm operates in eight offices including Newark, NJ; Trenton, NJ; Albany, NY; Harrisburg, PA; Philadelphia, PA; Pittsburgh, PA; Columbus, OH; and Washington, DC.

DMGS offers a full range of government relations and public affairs services, including lobbying, grant identification/writing/administration, development finance consulting, procurement, grassroots campaigning, public relations, and crisis planning/crisis management needs.

This Week In Congress: Trade And Transportation

The House and Senate are expected to send Trade Promotion Authority legislation to the president this week for signature. The trade legislation is a top priority for President Obama and his administration. Both chambers have a busy week scheduled before they adjourn for the Independence Day recess next week.

The Senate returns today with votes expected on the nominations of Peter Neffenger to be administrator of the Transportation Security Administration at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Daniel Elliott III to be a member of the Surface Transportation Board. Following these votes, the Senate will resume consideration of trade-related legislation, as passed by the House of Representatives last week. The Senate had previously voted to approve jointly Trade Promotion Authority, which grants expedited congressional consideration of trade agreements, and Trade Adjustment Assistance, a program to assist domestic workers whose employment is affected by trade, in May. The rule governing consideration of the bill in the House of Representatives allowed for separate votes on each portion of the bill, and the TAA provision was defeated. As a result, the House last week passed the legislation as individual measures, sending the bills back to the Senate for further consideration. Last week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., filed cloture on H. R. 2146, a bipartisan public-safety retirement bill with the House-passed TPA legislation attached. A cloture vote on the TPA bill is expected as early as Tuesday morning. If 60 votes are achieved on the cloture motion, up to 30 hours of post-cloture debate time would precede a simple majority vote on the “fast-track” trade legislation. Following that vote, the Senate will proceed to a cloture vote on H. R. 1295, the Trade Preferences Extension Act with an amendment adding TAA and the Leveling the Playing Field Act. A third bill, dealing with customs requirements, is also part of the trade package and will be considered by a Senate-House conference committee in order to resolve differences between the two versions of that bill.

Once the Senate has dispensed with the trade legislation, it is unclear what will be next on the agenda. Democrats and Republicans are still locked in a stalemate over the fiscal year 2016 budget framework. Last week, Senate Democrats successfully filibustered consideration of the FY 2016 defense appropriations bill and have pledged to block any other appropriations bills from floor consideration until the spending limits established by the 2011 sequester are raised. With the support of President Obama, Democrats are hoping that their obstruction of the entire appropriations process and threat of a government shutdown will bring Republican leaders to the negotiating table. So far, Republican leadership has not indicated a willingness to agree to a budget summit.

The House returns on Tuesday and tackles 14 suspensions. The bulk of the bills to be considered under suspension of the rules come from the Homeland Security Committee and touch on a variety of issues at the Department of Homeland Security. In addition, to the Homeland Security bills, the House will tackle a handful of other bills. Most prominent among these is the bipartisan revision to the Toxic Substances Control Act.

Following consideration of the suspension bill, the House will take up H.R. 1190, sponsored by Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn., to repeal the controversial provision of the Affordable Care Act establishing the Independent Payment Advisory Board, a panel that makes recommendations on Medicare cuts. The legislation had been scheduled for last week but was displaced by reconsideration of the trade bills. The vote to repeal the IPAB comes as the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to issue a ruling in the next two weeks in the King v. Burwell case, regarding subsidies for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. If the court strikes down the legality of subsidies for health insurance purchased through federal exchanges, Congress will have to deal with another highly contentious health care debate during July, when highway funding and the Export-Import Bank will also have to be addressed.

The House will then tackle H.R. 2042, the Ratepayer Protection Act, introduced by Rep. Ed Whitfield, R-Ky. This bill would allow for judicial review of any final ruling by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on carbon dioxide regulations for existing power plants, a highly contentious issue focused on the administration’s effort to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.

The House will complete the week and head into the Independence Day recess by considering the FY 2016 interior and environment appropriations bill, a $30 billion funding measure that would cut funding for the Environmental Protection Agency by 9 percent and include a number of policy riders aimed at preventing many of the agency’s policies from going into effect. Passed in the House Appropriations Committee on June 16 on a party-line vote, the interior and environment bill has become one of the most controversial of the 12 annual appropriations bills because of the policy riders. Among other things, this bill includes provisions that would bar EPA’s efforts to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from new and existing power plants, amend the designation for automatic Clean Water Act protection, prevent the listing of certain animals under the Endangered Species Act, and block funding for rule regulating hydraulic fracturing on federal lands. These riders are all opposed by congressional Democrats and the administration.

The House schedule also allows for consideration of trade-related legislation that it might need to consider accompanying TPA to the president’s desk for signature.

House and Senate Appropriations Committees continue their work on reporting out FY 2016 spending bills. This week the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development and Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education will mark up their respective bills. The House Appropriations Committee will markup its FY 2016 Labor, Health and Human Services and Education bill on Wednesday.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold a hearing on evaluating the key components of an international nuclear agreement with Iran on Thursday. President Obama signed into law the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015, which provides Congress the authority to review of any international agreement on Iran’s nuclear program. The deadline for the international negotiations is the end of the month and Committee Chairman Bob Corker, R-Tenn., last week wrote a letter to President Obama expressing concerns over reports of concessions that the United States and its allies are making in those negotiations.

The recent data breach at the Office of Personnel and Management that exposed the personal information of millions of active and retired federal employees remains the subject of congressional scrutiny this week. The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government will hold a hearing on OPM data security on Tuesday. The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will hold its second hearing on the data breach on Wednesday.

Also on the hearing agenda this week will be proposals for federal transportation spending. The current short-term surface transportation authorization expires in July, and lawmakers continue to struggle with finding bipartisan agreement on a long-term solution for funding shortfalls for the Highway Trust Fund. Democrats are insisting on a long-term fix (though inclusion of the Export-Import Bank reauthorization may, as noted above, secure Democratic support for another short-term fix). Last week, House Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., publicly ruled out any increase in the gas tax as a solution for HTF insolvency. The Senate Finance Committee meets on Thursday to discuss state innovations in funding transportation infrastructure, while the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures will hold a Wednesday hearing on the potential use of revenue from the repatriation of earnings as a source of highway funding.

A full schedule of congressional hearings for this week is included below.

By: Martin J. Milita, Jr. Esq., Sr. Director.

Please feel free to contact the author or your other Duane Morris Government Strategies LLC contact to learn more about this article and what it may mean to you.

About Duane Morris Government Strategies, LLC (DMGS):

Comprised of 19 experienced professionals representing U.S. and foreign clients at the federal, state and local levels, DMGS is as an ancillary business of international law firm Duane Morris LLP, one of the 100 largest law firms with more than 700 attorneys in the U.S. as well as in the UK and Asia. The firm operates in eight offices including Newark, NJ; Trenton, NJ; Albany, NY; Harrisburg, PA; Philadelphia, PA; Pittsburgh, PA; Columbus, OH; and Washington, DC.

DMGS offers a full range of government relations and public affairs services, including lobbying, grant identification/writing/administration, development finance consulting, procurement, grassroots campaigning, public relations, and crisis planning/crisis management needs.

CALENDAR

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

House Committees

GSA Leasing in the Northeast

House Transportation and Infrastructure – Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management

Subcommittee Panel Discussion

June 23, 11 a.m., Conference Rooms A/B, Sixth Floor, Jacob K. Javits Federal Office Building, 26 Federal Plaza, New York, N.Y.

VA Small Business Goals Reporting

House Veterans’ Affairs – Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations; House Small Business – Subcommittee on Investigations, Oversight and Regulations

Committee Joint Hearing

4 p.m., 334 Cannon Bldg.

Senate Committees

OPM Data Security Review

Senate Appropriations – Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government

Subcommittee Hearing

10:30 a.m., 124 Dirksen Bldg.

Fiscal 2016 Appropriations: Transportation-HUD

Senate Appropriations – Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies

Subcommittee Markup

10 a.m., 138 Dirksen Bldg.

National Flood Insurance Program

Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs

Full Committee News Conference/Briefing

10 a.m., 538 Dirksen Bldg.

Regulatory Overhaul Costs

Senate Budget; Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs

Committee Joint Hearing

10 a.m., G50 Dirksen Bldg.

Takata Air Bag Recall and Vehicle Safety Update

Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation

Full Committee Hearing

10 a.m., 253 Russell Bldg.

Carbon Regulation Impact on Energy Costs

Senate Environment and Public Works – Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety

Subcommittee Hearing

2 p.m., 406 Dirksen Bldg.

Ambassador Nominations

Senate Foreign Relations

Full Committee Confirmation Hearing

11 a.m., 419 Dirksen Bldg.

Fiscal 2016 Appropriations: Labor-HHS-Education

Senate Appropriations – Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies

Subcommittee Markup

3 p.m., 138 Dirksen Bldg.

American Energy Export Opportunities

Senate Foreign Relations – Subcommittee on Multilateral International Development, Multilateral Institutions and International Economic, Energy and Environmental Policy

Subcommittee Hearing

2:45 p.m., 419 Dirksen Bldg.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

House Committees

U.S. International Food Aid

House Agriculture

Full Committee Hearing

10 a.m., 1300 Longworth Bldg.

Fiscal 2016 Appropriations: Labor-HHS-Education

House Appropriations

Full Committee Markup

10:15 a.m., 2359 Rayburn Bldg.

Child Nutrition Assistance Compliance

House Education and the Workforce – Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education

Subcommittee Hearing

10 a.m., 2175 Rayburn Bldg.

Medicaid Demonstration Project Approval

House Energy and Commerce – Subcommittee on Health

Subcommittee Hearing

10 a.m., 2123 Rayburn Bldg.

Syrian Refugee Admission

House Homeland Security – Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence

Subcommittee Hearing

10 a.m., 311 Cannon Bldg.

BLM Wind and Solar Reclamation Bonds

House Natural Resources – Subcommittee on Oversight & Investigations

Subcommittee Oversight Hearing

10:30 a.m., 1324 Longworth Bldg.

OPM Data Breach

House Oversight and Government Reform

Full Committee Hearing

10 a.m., 2154 Rayburn Bldg.

EPA Clean-Power Plan Analysis

House Science, Space and Technology – Subcommittee on Energy; House Science, Space and Technology – Subcommittee on Environment

Committee Joint Hearing

10 a.m., 2318 Rayburn Bldg.

U.S. Train Control Implementation

House Transportation and Infrastructure – Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials

Subcommittee Hearing

10 a.m., 2167 Rayburn Bldg.

Veterans Affairs Legislation

House Veterans’ Affairs – Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs

Subcommittee Hearing

2 p.m., 334 Cannon Bldg.

Health Law and Insurance Premiums

House Ways and Means – Subcommittee on Oversight

Subcommittee Hearing

10 a.m., 1100 Longworth Bldg.

Islamic State Assessment

House Armed Services – Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities

Subcommittee Hearing

2 p.m., 2118 Rayburn Bldg.

U.S. Financial Sector Security

House Financial Services

Full Committee Hearing

2 p.m., 2128 Rayburn Bldg.

Colombia and the FARC

House Foreign Affairs – Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere

Subcommittee Hearing

3 p.m., 2172 Rayburn Bldg.

DHS Federal Cybersecurity Efforts

House Homeland Security – Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection and Security Technologies

Subcommittee Hearing

2 p.m., 311 Cannon Bldg.

Puerto Rico Political and Economic Assessment

House Natural Resources – Subcommittee on Indian, Insular and Alaska Native Affairs

Subcommittee Oversight Hearing

2 p.m., 1324 Longworth Bldg.

Rural Transportation Issues

House Transportation and Infrastructure – Subcommittee on Highways and Transit

Subcommittee Hearing

2 p.m., 2167 Rayburn Bldg.

Repatriation Tax and Highway Funding

House Ways and Means – Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures

Subcommittee Hearing

2 p.m., 1100 Longworth Bldg.

Senate Committees

Flood Insurance Management

Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs

Full Committee Hearing

10 a.m., 538 Dirksen Bldg.

Governmental Affairs Measures and Nominations

Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs

Full Committee Markup

10 a.m., 342 Dirksen Bldg.

Native American Youth Suicide Prevention

Senate Indian Affairs

Full Committee Oversight Hearing

2:15 p.m., 628 Dirksen Bldg.

Work in Retirement

Senate Special Aging

Full Committee Hearing

2:15 p.m., 562 Dirksen Bldg.

Veterans Health Care and Benefits Legislation

Senate Veterans’ Affairs

Full Committee Markup

2:30 p.m., 418 Russell Bldg.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

House Committees

Welfare and Work Issues

House Agriculture – Subcommittee on Nutrition; House Ways and Means – Subcommittee on Human Resources

Committee Joint Hearing

10 a.m., 1100 Longworth Bldg.

Nuclear Deterrence Policy

House Armed Services

Full Committee Hearing

10 a.m., 2118 Rayburn Bldg.

Vehicle-to-Vehicle Communications

House Energy and Commerce – Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade

Subcommittee Hearing

10 a.m., 2123 Rayburn Bldg.

Public Health Bills

House Energy and Commerce – Subcommittee on Health

Subcommittee Hearing

10:15 a.m., 2322 Rayburn Bldg.

CFPB Misconduct Allegations

House Financial Services – Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations

Subcommittee Hearing

10 a.m., 2128 Rayburn Bldg.

State Department and Religious Freedom Bills

House Foreign Affairs

Full Committee Markup

10 a.m., 2172 Rayburn Bldg.

Mineral Production Legislation

House Natural Resources – Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources

Subcommittee Hearing

10:30 a.m., 1334 Longworth Bldg.

Water Use and Infrastructure Bills

House Natural Resources – Subcommittee on Water, Power and Oceans

Subcommittee Hearing

10 a.m., 1324 Longworth Bldg.

IRS Inspector General Update

House Oversight and Government Reform

Full Committee Hearing

9 a.m., 2154 Rayburn Bldg.

National Science Foundation Employee Ethics Issues

House Science, Space and Technology – Subcommittee on Oversight; House Science, Space and Technology – Subcommittee on Research and Technology

Committee Joint Hearing

10 a.m., 2318 Rayburn Bldg.

GSA Proposed Transactional Data Rule

House Small Business – Subcommittee on Contracting and Workforce

Subcommittee Hearing

10 a.m., 2360 Rayburn Bldg.

VA Fiscal 2015 Budget Assessment

House Veterans’ Affairs

Full Committee Hearing

10:30 a.m., 334 Cannon Bldg.

Food Labeling Bills

House Agriculture – Subcommittee on Biotechnology, Horticulture and Research

Subcommittee Hearing

1:30 p.m., 1300 Longworth Bldg.

Defense Department Nuclear Enterprise Review

House Armed Services – Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations

Subcommittee Hearing

2 p.m., 2212 Rayburn Bldg.

China and U.S. Universities

House Foreign Affairs – Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations

Subcommittee Hearing

2 p.m., 2172 Rayburn Bldg.

Criminal Justice Proposals

House Judiciary

Full Committee Panel Discussion

June 25 TBA, TBA

VA Major Lease Procurement

House Oversight and Government Reform – Subcommittee on National Security

Subcommittee Hearing

2 p.m., 2154 Rayburn Bldg.

Veterans Affairs Measures

House Veterans’ Affairs – Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity

Subcommittee Markup

2 p.m., 334 Cannon Bldg.

Senate Committees

COOL and Trade Retaliation

Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry

Full Committee Hearing

10 a.m., G50 Dirksen Bldg.

Transportation Infrastructure Financing

Senate Finance

Full Committee Hearing

10 a.m., 215 Dirksen Bldg.

Iran Nuclear Agreement

Senate Foreign Relations

Full Committee Hearing

10 a.m., 419 Dirksen Bldg.

Cybersecurity and OPM Data Breach

Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs

Full Committee Hearing

9:30 a.m., 342 Dirksen Bldg.

Veterans and Economic Opportunity Policy

Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship

Full Committee Hearing

9:30 a.m., 428A Russell Bldg.

Impact of a Greek Default

Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs – Subcommittee on National Security and International Trade and Finance

Subcommittee Hearing

1:30 p.m., 538 Dirksen Bldg.

Friday, June 26, 2015

House Committees

Public Shipyards and Navy Operations

House Armed Services – Subcommittee on Readiness

Subcommittee Hearing

8 a.m., 2212 Rayburn Bldg.

U.S. Space Security

House Armed Services – Subcommittee on Strategic Forces

Subcommittee Hearing

10:30 a.m., 2212 Rayburn Bldg.

Eminent Domain and Property Rights

House Judiciary – Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice

Subcommittee Hearing

9 a.m., 2141 Rayburn Bldg.

Astrobiology Outlook

House Science, Space and Technology

Full Committee Hearing

9 a.m., 2318 Rayburn Bldg.

Port Authority Reform Bill Introduced With Mixed Reception

The governors of New York and New Jersey on Thursday announced their joint support of legislation to reform the bi-state Port Authority by making it operate more transparently, but some lawmakers argue that the measure falls short of meeting transportation policy needs.

The proposed legislation, which Cuomo and Christie said achieves much-needed reform of the Port Authority, would replace the agency’s executive director and deputy with a new chief executive, prohibit the chairperson and commissioners from simultaneously holding staff positions and rotate the chairmanship every two years between the two states, among other measures, according to Cuomo’s office.

However, New Jersey legislators said they would introduce their own bill later this month, hold hearings with commuters and other stakeholders, and pass the measure later in the year. The two bills would then have to be reconciled, and passed as amended by both legislatures, they said.

Christie, who has faced recent criticism over the George Washington Bridge scandal, which directly involved officials at Port Authority, said in a statement Thursday that the agency’s structure, management, operations and governance are in need of reform to secure its future as a transportation and economic cornerstone. He said the bill includes key elements of the recommendations of a bi-state panel and legislation introduced by New Jersey Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean Jr., R-Union.

Reintroduced Bill Would Increase Funding for Infrastructure Projects

By: Martin J. Milita, Jr. Esq., Sr. Director.

A bipartisan group of 11 senators, led by Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), and Mark Warner (D-Va.) have again introduced legislation that would create infrastructure financing authority to help local and state governments leverage private funding for key infrastructure projects. The BRIDGE (Building and Renewing Infrastructure for Development and Growth in Employment ) Act (S.1589), would establish an independent federal lending agency led by a seven-member board of directors and a CEO, all of whom must show financial management expertise and be confirmed by the Senate. “Having project finance experts in-house will help states and localities go toe-to-toe with private sector partners to ensure that taxpayers are getting good value for our investments through public-private partnerships,” Warner explained in a press release.

The Infrastructure Financing Authority would receive up to $10 billion in seed money, which it would use to provide up to 49 percent of a project’s total cost in the form of low-interest loans and loan guarantees. Funding would be made available for all types of transportation infrastructure and water/sewer and energy transmission projects. To be eligible, projects in urban areas would have to cost at least $50 million. Five percent of the agency’s funding would be dedicated to rural projects, which must cost at least $10 million.

The authority would be set up as a wholly owned government corporation, like the Export-Import Bank and Ginnie Mae. The authority is intended to become self-sustaining through the receipt of payments of fees and risk premiums on loans and loan guarantees.

The legislation would create an Office of Technical and Rural Assistance within the authority that would provide technical assistance to state and local governments and parties in public-private partnerships in developing and financing eligible infrastructure projects, including those in rural areas. The office also would create a regional infrastructure accelerator programs that would identify suitable projects and help localities make the best public use of innovative financing tools.

“Infrastructure has long been an integral part of our economy. Across Missouri and the nation, our farmers, ranchers, manufacturers, and workers rely on strong infrastructure and transportation systems to move goods and services as quickly as possible,” Blunt said. “By working together on this bipartisan legislation, we can provide a new tool to help finance infrastructure projects, create good-paying jobs, and position American businesses, large and small, to succeed in the global market.” (Credit AP).

The bill was referred to the Senate Finance Committee. No hearings for the bill have been scheduled.

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