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September 23, 2019 1:15 PM, EDT

Congress Looks to Avoid Government Shutdown, Again

Rep. Nita Lowey “Our continuing resolution will keep government open and provide families, businesses and communities with much-needed budget certainty," House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey says (Bloomberg Politics via YouTube)

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Members of Congress again are staring into the possibility of a shutdown as federal funding is set to expire Sept. 30.

Recognizing this deadline, the House on Sept. 19 advanced a continuing resolution designed to keep agencies open through Nov. 21.

“Our continuing resolution will keep government open and provide families, businesses and communities with much-needed budget certainty while we negotiate long-term funding for key priorities,” said House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.). “Once the CR is enacted and the Senate advances their appropriations process, Democrats will negotiate responsible spending bills that uphold our values and give working families a better chance at a better life.”

Eugene Mulero

Mulero

The Senate, which has yet to consider every fiscal 2020 appropriations bill, likely will schedule a vote on the stopgap measure this week. The White House recently signaled its support for the CR.

A shutdown of federal agencies, for obvious reasons, would not be ideal, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) explained last week.

“We cannot afford to abdicate our responsibility to deliver timely funding to the critical priorities of the federal government, least of all to the men and women in uniform who keep us safe,” the leader said. “So I would urge each of my colleagues to engage in this process.”

For trucking, senators on the funding committee reported to the full chamber a fiscal 2020 transportation measure that would provide $679 million for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

The legislation also would prohibit funding for the enforcement of the electronic logging device mandate for livestock haulers. And, in a report accompanying the legislation, senators encouraged the Federal Highway Administration to complete a study on the impact automated vehicles have on highway infrastructure.

Additionally, transportation appropriators acknowledged a shortage of commercial drivers and encouraged FMCSA to look into ways the commercial driving workforce could be expanded.

The issue of hair testing also garnered attention. In a report accompanying a separate bill, appropriators reminded the Department of Health and Human Services of a directive that required them to produce scientific and technical guidelines for hair testing to deter usage of controlled substances. Besides directing the department to finalize such guidelines, the panel would require the secretary to provide Congress with a report.

The Week Ahead (all times Eastern)

Spotlight Hearing

Sept. 25, 10 a.m.: Since raising the federal fuel tax is not on the radar, congressional transportation leaders keep asking themselves: How do we pay for infrastructure? A panel of experts scheduled to appear before the House Budget Committee is likely to provide answers. For a hearing titled, “America’s Infrastructure: Today’s Gaps, Tomorrow’s Opportunities, and the Need for Federal Investment,” participants will include Carol Ellinger Haddock, director of Houston Public Works, representing the American Society of Civil Engineers; Christopher A. Coes, vice president of land use and development at Smart Growth America; Adie Tomer, fellow with the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution; R. Richard Geddes, professor and director of the Cornell Program in Infrastructure Policy at Cornell University, and visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.

Sept. 23, 12 p.m.: The Cato Institute hosts Russ Roberts, a fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, for a discussion on the book, “The Three Languages of Politics.”

Sept. 23, 2 p.m.: The House Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Subcommittee hosts a hearing titled, “Presidential Corruption: Emoluments and Profiting Off the Presidency.”

Sept. 24, 9 a.m.: The National Park Service hosts a meeting of the Made in America Outdoor Recreation Advisory Committee.

Sept. 24, 9 a.m.: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce hosts a panel discussion on human trafficking prevention. Participants include Catherine Todd Bailey, chairwoman of the Transportation Department’s Advisory Committee on Human Trafficking; Nicole Clifton, vice president of UPS Global Public Affairs; Gary McCarthy, chief of the Arizona Department of Transportation’s Enforcement and Compliance Division; Kalyn Stephens, vice president of government affairs at the American Hotel and Lodging Association; Chirag Shah, vice president of government affairs at the Asian American Hotel Owners Association; Stephanie Olson, CEO and president of the Set Me Free Project; Erin Neill, manager of government and public affairs at Marriott International; and Elisabeth Barna, executive vice president for industry affairs at American Trucking Associations.

Sept. 24, 10 a.m.: Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee meets to consider the nomination of Eugene Scalia to be Labor Secretary.

Sept. 24, 10 a.m.: The House Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Subcommittee holds a hearing titled, “Challenges and Opportunities for Commuter Railroads.”

Katherine Hamilton

Hamilton

Sept. 24, 10 a.m.: The House Legislative and Budget Process Subcommittee examines resilience infrastructure policy. Participants include Bill Johnson, director of Emergency Management in Palm Beach County; Katherine Hamilton, executive director of the Advanced Energy Management Alliance; John Piotti, CEO of American Farmland Trust; Heather McTeer Toney, national field director for Moms Clean Air Force and former mayor of Greenville, Miss.

Sept. 24, 2 p.m.: The House Research and Technology Subcommittee meets to review artificial intelligence in the workplace. Experts scheduled to address the panel include Arthur Lupia, assistant director of the National Science Foundation Directorate for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences; Erik Brynjolfsson, management science professor and director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Initiative on the Digital Economy; Rebekah Kowalski, vice president of manufacturing services at the ManpowerGroup; and Sue Ellspermann, president of Ivy Tech Community College.

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Sept. 24, 2:30 p.m.: The Senate Aviation and Space Subcommittee will examine the air traffic control system. Witnesses will include Mark Baker, president of Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association; Ed Bolen, CEO of the National Business Aviation Association; Captain Joe DePete, president of the Air Line Pilots Association; Trish Gilbert, executive vice president of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association; and Sharon Pinkerton, senior vice president of Legislative and Regulatory Policy at Airlines for America.

Sept. 25, 10 a.m.: The House Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management Subcommittee meets for a hearing titled, “Landlord and Tenant: The Trump Administration’s Oversight of the Trump International Hotel Lease.”

David Sanger

Sanger

Sept. 25, 12 p.m.: New America hosts a book discussion: “Whistleblowers: Honesty in America from Washington to Trump.” Participants will include author Allison Stanger, cybersecurity fellow at New America; Bunnatine Greenhouse, professor at Northern Virginia Community College; David Sanger, national security correspondent at The New York Times; Jamil Jaffer, executive director of the George Mason University National Security Institute; and Anne-Marie Slaughter, CEO of New America.

Sept. 25, 2 p.m.: The House Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee hosts a hearing titled, “Coast Guard and Port Infrastructure: Built to Last.”

Sept. 25, 2 p.m.: The House Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee hears from Daniel Elwell, deputy director of the Federal Aviation Administration.

Sept. 25, 2:30 p.m.: The Senate Clean Air and Nuclear Safety Subcommittee meets for a hearing on emissions reduction.

Sept. 25, 5 p.m.: Howard University holds a discussion on “Weaving Collective Memory,” part of the Slavery, Memory and African Diasporas Seminar. Participant will include Ana Lucia Araujo, professor at the Howard University Department of History.

Sept. 26, 10 a.m.: The House Aviation Subcommittee meets for a hearing titled, “A Work in Progress: Implementation of the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018.”

Sept. 26, 10 a.m.: The House Conservation and Forestry Subcommittee meets for a hearing titled “The National Forest System: Restoring our Forest Infrastructure.”

Sept. 26, 10 a.m.: The Bipartisan Policy Center hosts a panel discussion titled, “Reducing Natural Disaster Costs: Building Better and Stronger.” Participants will include former Gov. Haley Barbour (R-Miss.); former Housing and Urban Development Deputy Secretary Pam Patenaude; Madhu Beriwal, founder and CEO of IEM; Terry Dinan, senior adviser at the Congressional Budget Office; Jeremy Gregory, research scientist and executive director of the MIT Concrete Sustainability Hub; and James Rubin, CEO of North America, Meridiam.

Mood Swings

A focus this month on the fiscal 2020 appropriations process on Capitol Hill pretty much has eclipsed discussions about infrastructure. And down the street, on 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, the West Wing is tackling the scandal du jour.

 

In Case You Missed It

House Democrats’ investigations of the Trump administration now includes the secretary of transportation.

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Who’s New

Randy Guillot

Guillot

When American Trucking Associations hosts its annual conference next month, a new chairman will be installed.

Randy Guillot, president of Triple G Express Inc in New Orleans and currently American Trucking Associations’ first vice chairman, will succeed Barry Pottle, CEO of Pottle’s Transportation in Bangor, Maine. 

Guillot will be installed at the Managment Conference & Exhibition, which will be held Oct. 5-9 in San Diego.

Buzz

Transport Topics recently interviewed House transportation Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.). The chairman had plenty to say about infrastructure funding and the officials around Trump’s orbit. Our coverage comes out this week.

Favorite Video

Whiskey is for drinking. Water is for fighting.

 

Favorite Tweet

To infinity and beyond.

The Last Word

This is the first time that we’ve seen in this country a coup attempt on this president; on the presidency.

Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) on Sept. 20 on C-SPAN

Rep. Paul Gosar

 

 

We publish weekly when Congress is in session. E-mail emulero@ttnews.com with tips. Follow us @eugenemulero and @transporttopics