September 30, 2020

T&I Committee Advances Several Bills During Full Committee Markup, Including Bipartisan Legislation to Strengthen Aviation Safety

Washington, DC - Today, the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure approved a slate of bipartisan measures during a Full Committee markup, including legislation to strengthen the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) certification process and ease financial burdens on states and local governments during emergencies and major disasters.

“For the past 18 months, the Boeing 737 MAX has been synonymous with the tragic loss of 346 innocent people, a broken safety culture at Boeing, and grossly insufficient oversight by the FAA. Today our Committee approved H.R. 8408, the Aircraft Certification Reform and Accountability Act, comprehensive, bipartisan legislation that will meaningfully address the gaps in the regulatory system for certifying aircraft and adopt critical reforms that improve public safety and ensure accountability at all levels. Additionally, our Committee approved H.R. 8266, the FEMA Assistance Relief Act of 2020. This bill would increase the Federal cost share of disaster and emergency relief easing financial burdens on communities across the Nation—like my district in Southwest Oregon—that are facing dual crises of the COVID-19 pandemic and natural disasters. With today’s markup, the T&I Committee continues to demonstrate that it is focused on achieving results for the American people in a bipartisan manner. I look forward to continuing to work with Ranking Member Graves and all members of our Committee as we move these important bills forward,” Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chair Peter DeFazio (D-OR) said.

“The United States and the FAA must continue to be the gold standard in aviation innovation, and more importantly, aviation safety.  Our economy, our competitiveness, and the safety of the traveling public depends on that.  The fundamental reason we are the gold standard is because when things go wrong, we have always managed to leave partisan politics at the door and work together to fix critical safety issues.  That’s what we have done today – the Aircraft Certification Reform and Accountability Act, based on non-partisan expert reviews and recommendations, advances our shared goal of safety without dismantling our certification system,” said Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Ranking Member Sam Graves (R-MO). “I want to thank Chairman DeFazio and all the Members of the Committee for their work to advance this safety bill, as well as today’s additional measures, including Ranking Member John Katko’s bill to help improve FEMA’s coordination with states and local governments in getting disaster relief to those who need it.”

Legislation approved today:

H.R. 8408, Aircraft Certification Reform and Accountability Act

H.R. 8408, the “Aircraft Certification Reform and Accountability Act” was introduced by Chair Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Ranking Member Sam Graves (R-MO), Subcommittee on Aviation Chair Rick Larsen (D-WA), and Subcommittee on Aviation Ranking Member Garret Graves (R-LA). This bill addresses recommendations made as the result of the many reviews conducted of the design, development, and certification of the Boeing 737 MAX. The legislation also incorporates a bipartisan bill to improve the analysis of human factors, analysis that was recommended by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and is needed as airplanes become increasingly automated.

More information can be found here.

Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute (ANS) to H.R. 8266, FEMA Assistance Relief Act of 2020

H.R. 8266, introduced by Chair DeFazio, Chairwoman Titus of the Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management, Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA) and others, will adjust the Federal cost share for all emergency and major disaster declarations granted in calendar year (CY) 2020 pursuant to the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (P.L. 93-288 as amended). This bill raises the Federal share from 75 percent to not less than 90 percent for emergencies and disasters declared by the President in CY20. For COVID-19-related declarations—for which the President invoked Stafford Sec. 501(b), stating “the United States exercises exclusive or preeminent responsibility and authority”—the bill shifts the Federal share to 100 percent.

More information can be found here.

Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute (ANS) to H.R. 4358, Preliminary Damage Assessment Improvement Act of 2019

H.R. 4358, introduced by Ranking Member John Katko of the Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Response, directs FEMA to establish Preliminary Damage Assessment (PDA) teams with an expertise in working with State, tribal, and territorial partners, as well as to report to Congress on the PDA process.

H.R. 8326, CED Act

H.R. 8326, introduced by Reps. Abby Finkenauer (D-IA) and Jim Hagedorn (R-MN), amends the Public Works and Economic Development Act to instruct Economic Development Districts (EDDs) to consider the access and availability of affordable child care in the development of their Comprehensive Economic Development Strategies (CEDS).  EDDs are multi-jurisdictional entities, commonly composed of multiple counties and in certain cases even cross-state borders. They help lead the locally based, regionally driven economic development planning process that leverages the involvement of the public, private, and non-profit sectors to establish a strategic plan for local economic development known as a CEDS.

Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute (ANS) to H.R. 4611, Ocean Pollution Reduction Act II

H.R. 4611, introduced by Rep. Scott Peters (D-CA), seeks to clarify that the City of San Diego, California, can utilize the standard Clean Water Act National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit renewal process and does not need a waiver application to continue operating the Point Loma Wastewater Treatment Plant (“Point Loma Plant”) with alternative standards, allowing the City regulatory certainty in the future. The legislation has support from the surrounding localities, public works department, water district, and local environmental organizations.

Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute (ANS) to H.R. 5919, National Children’s Museum Act

The amendment in the nature of substitute (ANS) for H.R. 5919, introduced by Chair Norton of the Subcommittee on Highways and Transit, directs the Administrator of the General Services Administration (GSA) to enter into a cooperative agreement with the National Children’s Museum for the approximately 32,369 square feet of space which the Museum currently occupies in the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C.

General Service 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. On September 30, 2020, the Committee considered 33 resolutions to authorize either the leasing or alteration of space for Federal agencies and courthouses throughout the country. The leasing resolutions all involve an agency either reducing its space footprint, improving its utilization rate, or supplementing current services in the same area. These resolutions include a clause requiring the GSA Administrator to ensure that the procurements consider the availability of public transportation and the inclusion of renewable energy, water efficiency, and indoor air quality improvements that reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  The alteration resolutions include a clause requiring GSA to achieve net zero carbon buildings if determined to be practical and cost-effective.