September 19, 2019

Committee Approves Slate of Legislation to Maintain Labor Standards, Fund Water Projects Across the Country, Improve Disaster Preparedness, and More

Committee Approves Slate of Legislation to Maintain Labor Standards, Fund Water Projects Across the Country, Improve Disaster Preparedness, and More


Washington, DC- Today, the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure approved a slate of bipartisan measures by voice vote, including the Fair and Open Skies Act, the Protect and Restore America’s Estuaries Act, the Resilience Revolving Loan Fund Act, legislation to amend the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, and more.

“I am pleased that my Fair and Open Skies Act passed through Committee today,” said Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Chair DeFazio (D-OR). “This legislation is critical to maintaining the highest labor standards in aviation, all over the world. In addition, our Committee passed important legislation to improve disaster relief, protect regional water bodies, and more. I appreciate Ranking Member Sam Graves, and our colleagues on both sides of the aisle, for their diligent work to get these bills through committee in a bipartisan fashion.”


“Effective disaster preparedness is critically important across the country,” said Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Ranking Member Sam Graves (R-MO). “This year’s flooding has absolutely devastated North Missouri. Levees up and down the Missouri, Mississippi and rivers in-between were breached. We’ve got to make sure that our river communities have the ability to recover, as well as prevent future flooding. I’m glad we were able make important changes to the Resilience Revolving Loan Fund Act, particularly the inclusion of non-federal levees, providing another important tool to help our communities, farmers, and businesses better prepare for future disasters.  I want to thank the Chairman for working with the Committee’s Republican Members to move forward on these bipartisan measures today.”

The legislation passed today out of Committee includes:

H.R. 3632, Fair and Open Skies Act


“Today’s passage of my Fair and Open Skies Act is the first step toward ensuring that any airline that seeks to undermine the strongest U.S. and European labor standards be prohibited from flying to or from the United States,” said Chair DeFazio. “This bipartisan bill ensures fair competition and seeks to prevent a race to the bottom in international civil aviation. Going one step further than the bill I introduced last Congress on this issue, this bill states that preventing a foreign airline from undermining labor standards is, in fact, in the public interest. We have the largest, most complex, airspace in the world and we must continue to ensure it runs safely, efficiently, and fairly.”

“Looking at the future of aviation and aerospace means improving the nation’s competitiveness in the global market. The bipartisan Fair and Open Skies Act says to the world the U.S. will not reward countries that break their commitments to protecting workers,” said Subcommittee on Aviation Chair Rick Larsen (D-WA). “I am proud to support the best aerospace and aviation workers in the world and ensure the U.S. remains competitive in the international market.”

“Today’s markup is a reminder of how this committee has historically been one of the most bipartisan committees in Congress and it’s a great example of what we can accomplish when we work together. I’m proud to be the lead Republican on two of the bills marked up today. The Fair and Open Skies Act will ensure safety throughout our airways by making sure foreign airlines are not skirting regulations or labor standards and the Resilience Revolving Loan Fund Act will help communities recover more quickly when disaster strikes. I’m hopeful we’ll continue this record of bipartisanship when we look to address major issues like a highway reauthorization bill later this year and into the next,” said Congressman Rodney Davis (R-IL).

“Foreign airlines serving the United States must follow the rules of our country, including our fair labor standards and competition requirements, to ensure the safety of passengers and U.S. airline industry workers. The Fair and Open Skies act will go a long way to protect the American flying public and prevent foreign airlines from gaming the system, and I’m glad we were able to pass this bipartisan legislation,” said Vice-Chair Sharice Davids (D-KS).

H.R. 3632 precludes DOT from permitting a future foreign airline to serve the U.S. under the U.S.-E.U.-Norway-Iceland Air Transportation Agreement unless the Secretary of Transportation determines the permit is consistent with the fair labor standards and fair competition requirements of the U.S.-E.U.-Norway-Iceland Air Transport Agreement and imposes on the permit any conditions necessary to ensure compliance with those standards and requirements.

H.R. 3632 further requires the Secretary, when permitting a future foreign airline, to find the foreign air transportation to be provided will be in the public interest. H.R. 3632 provides that preventing entry into the United States markets by a “flag of convenience” carrier—established in a country other than the home country of its majority owner to avoid regulations of its home country—or otherwise undermining labor standards is within the public interest.


H.R. 1620, Chesapeake Bay Program Reauthorization Act

H.R. 1620, introduced by Reps. Elaine Luria (D-VA), Robert Wittman (R-VA), Bobby Scott (D-VA) and John Sarbanes (D-MD), reauthorizes Federal appropriations for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Chesapeake Bay Program with funding increases over the next five years.


H.R. 1132, San Francisco Bay Restoration Act

H.R. 1132, introduced by Reps. Jackie Speier (D-CA), Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Jared Huffman (D-CA), Ro Khanna (D-CA), Jerry McNerney (D-CA), Eric Swalwell (D-CA), John Garamendi (D-CA), Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA), Mike Thompson (D-CA) and Barbara Lee (D-CA), establishes a new regional program within EPA to support restoration efforts in the San Francisco Bay.


H.R. 2247, Promoting United Government Efforts to Save Our Sound Act

H.R. 2247, introduced by Reps. Denny Heck (D-WA) and Derek Kilmer (D-WA), establishes a new regional program within EPA to support restoration efforts in the Puget Sound and authorizes Federal appropriations over the next five years for restoration activities.


H.R. 4031, Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Act of 2019

H.R. 4031, introduced by Rep. David Joyce (R-OH) and 39 other Members in the Great Lakes Region, reauthorizes EPA’s Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (found at section 118 of the Clean Water Act) for the fiscal years 2021-2026.


H.R. 4044, Protect and Restore America's Estuaries Act

“Estuaries support a diverse array of wildlife, protect inland areas from floods and storm surges, and are economic drivers for communities around the country. I'm grateful for the efforts of Members on both sides of the aisle to protect and restore these critical environments, and I'm proud that our bipartisan legislation has passed through committee today,” said Congressman Tom Malinowski (D-NJ).


“Along the Texas Gulf Coast, we know the importance of protecting the water quality and wildlife in our estuaries. Galveston Bay is a great benefit—supporting our economy through the Port of Houston and providing a natural habitat that protects us and enriches our quality of life. I am proud to see this bipartisan legislation pass through committee today so we can keep working to make sure that Galveston Bay and estuaries like it have the resources available to support their diverse marine life, maintain water quality, and encourage economic opportunity,” said Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher (D-TX).

H.R. 4044, introduced by Reps. Tom Malinowski (D-NJ), Lizzie Fletcher (D-TX), and Garret Graves (R-LA), reauthorizes EPA’s National Estuary Program from 2022-2026, with funds to be distributed evenly across each of the 28 estuaries within the program.


H.R. 4275, To amend the Federal Water Pollution Control Act to reauthorize the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Restoration Program, and for other purposes

“You can’t undersell the outsized importance of America’s coastal regions: estuaries comprise just 13% of continental US land area but are home to more than half the country’s population, account for 49% of economic output, and support more than 69 million jobs. The bills we advanced today will help ensure the continued management and restoration of these critical areas - their ecosystems, fisheries, communities, economies, and the abundant coastal resources they host,” said Congressman Garrett Graves (R-LA).


H.R. 4275, introduced by Reps. Garret Graves (R-LA) and Cedric Richmond (D-LA), reauthorizes EPA’s Lake Pontchartrain Basin Restoration Program for fiscal years 2020 through 2024.

H.R. 3779, Resilience Revolving Loan Fund Act of 2019

“With the growing threat of more frequent and devastating disasters, today’s passage out of Committee is an important step in making our towns and cities more resilient,” said Representative Angie Craig (D-MN). “I’m thrilled to be leading the bipartisan effort for smart proactive investment in disaster-resilient infrastructure.”


“You don’t have to come from a coastal district to know how natural disasters negatively impact our homes, schools, farms, and businesses. My district in Southern Nevada faces threats of worsening flash floods and wildfires from the catastrophic impacts of climate change. This bipartisan legislation championed by Rep. Craig provides another arrow in the quiver to protect our communities from natural disasters while also saving taxpayer dollars. As the old saying goes, ‘An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.’” said Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management Chair Dina Titus (D-NV).


H.R. 3779, introduced by Reps. Angie Craig, Eric “Rick” Crawford, and Rodney Davis, would amend the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act to establish an option for state revolving loan funds for hazard mitigation projects, with the intent of reducing future risks and costs of natural hazards.

H.R. 2242, To amend the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act to include certain services in the definition of critical services, and for other purposes

“The magnitude and impact of Hurricane Maria highlighted portions of the Stafford Act that need to be amended in order to streamline the recovery of Puerto Rico. Previously excluded were first responders, public housing, solid waste management, port and surface transportation systems including access roads to hospitals that prevented access to assistance and impacted our impacted citizens. HR 2242 will maximize FEMA’s assistance in the recovery process to have access to more resilient solutions in the aftermath of a natural disaster or an emergency,” said Congresswoman Jenniffer González-Colón (R-PR)


H.R. 2242, as introduced by Rep. Jenniffer González-Colón, amends the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act to expand the Act’s definition of “critical services.” The bill, as amended, will expand the definition of critical services for recovery efforts in Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands and would allow the President to make contributions for the repair of infrastructure related to solid waste management, stormwater management, emergency supply transportation, nonemergency medical, first response, and security.

H.R. 4347 PREPARE Act of 2019

Rep. Matt Cartwright introduced the Preparedness and Risk Management for Extreme Weather Resilience and Effectiveness (PREPARE) Act. The bill directs the President to establish the Interagency Council on Extreme Weather Resilience, Preparedness, and Risk Identification and Management. It also directs Federal agencies to develop extreme weather adaptation plans to proactively mitigate financial risk.


General Services Administration’s Capital Investment and Leasing Program Resolutions

Each fiscal year, the Committee considers General Services Administration’s (GSA) Capital Investment and Leasing Program (CILP) resolutions. Today, the Committee approved five resolutions to authorize the leasing of space for Federal agencies and one resolution to authorize the addition of two courtrooms and four judges’ chambers in the Carter-Keep Courthouse Annex in the San Diego, California Courthouse Complex.