Weekly Legislative Update June 22, 2020

House Democrats Release Text of H.R. 2, a Transformational Infrastructure Bill to 

Create Jobs and Rebuild America

Today, Chair of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Peter A. DeFazio (D-OR) was joined by Education and Labor Committee Chairman Robert C. "Bobby" Scott (D-VA), Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard E. Neal (D-MA), Oversight and Reform Committee Chairwoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Raúl Grijalva in releasing the text of H.R. 2, the Moving Forward Act. The Moving Forward Act marks a transformational investment in American infrastructure that will create millions of jobs, take bold action on the climate crisis, and address disparities in urban, suburban, and rural communities across our country. 
 
The more than $1.5 trillion proposal rebuilds U.S. communities with infrastructure and innovation that is smarter, safer, and made to last. 
 
Among the many provisions of the Moving Forward Act: 
  • The INVEST in America Act, a nearly $500 billion investment to rebuild and reimagine the nation's transportation infrastructure by fixing our crumbling roads and bridges, improving safety, reducing gridlock, and putting the U.S. on a path toward zero emissions from the transportation sector by cutting carbon pollution, investing in public transit and the national rail network, building out fueling infrastructure for low- and zero-emission vehicles, and deploying technology and innovative materials. The INVEST in America Act is fueled by American workers and ingenuity thanks to strong Buy America provisions and labor protections.
  • Invests in schools with the Reopen and Rebuild America's Schools Act, which funds $130 billion in school infrastructure targeted at high-poverty schools with facilities that endanger the health and safety of students and educators. This investment will help students get back to school and create more than 2 million jobs to help workers get back to work.  
  • Addresses structural challenges and upgrades child care facilities by leveraging a 5-year, $10 billion federal investment to generate additional state and private investments in making sure that child care settings are safe, appropriate, and able to comply with current and future public health directives. 
  • Invests over $100 billion into our nation's affordable housing infrastructure to create or preserve 1.8 million affordable homes. These investments will help reduce housing inequality, create jobs and stimulate the broader economy, increase community and household resiliency in the face of natural disasters, improve hazardous living conditions, and increase the environmental sustainability of our housing stock.
  • Protects access to safe drinking water by investing over $25 billion in the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund and other programs to ensure all communities have clean drinking water and to help remove dangerous contaminants like PFAS from local water systems. 
  • Modernizes our energy infrastructure for a clean energy future by investing more than $70 billion to transform our electric grid to accommodate more renewable energy, expand renewable energy, strengthen existing infrastructure, help develop an electric vehicle charging network, and support energy efficiency, weatherization, and Smart Communities infrastructure.
  • Delivers affordable high-speed broadband Internet access to all parts of the country by investing $100 billion to promote competition for broadband internet infrastructure in unserved and underserved communities, prioritizing those with persistent poverty. Gets children connected to remote learning, closes broadband adoption and digital skills gaps and enhances payment support for low-income households and the recently unemployed. 
  • Modernizes the nation's health care infrastructure by investing $30 billion to upgrade hospitals to increase capacity and strengthen care, help community health centers respond to COVID-19 and future public health emergencies, improve clinical laboratory infrastructure, support the Indian Health Service's infrastructure, and increase capacity for community-based care.   
  • Modernizes and strengthens the United States Postal Service by investing $25 billion to modernize postal infrastructure and operations, including a zero emissions postal vehicle fleet, processing equipment and other goods. 
  • Promotes new renewable energy infrastructure by incentivizing the development of wind and solar on public lands and building a workforce for offshore wind. 
  • Promotes investments in our communities by spurring private investment through the tax code, through a revitalized Build America Bonds program, expansions of Private Activity Bonds, and significant enhancements to the New Markets Tax Credit and the Rehabilitation Tax Credit.
Read more:  
  • Text of the Moving Forward Act is here.
  • A Section by Section is here.
  • A Fact Sheet is here.

 

TIA Signs onto DRIVE Safe Act Letter
Dear Chairman DeFazio and Ranking Member Graves:

As the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee begins its work on the Invest In America Act, the undersigned organizations write to express our strong support for including the provisions of the DRIVE-Safe Act (HR 1374) in the legislation.  This strongly bipartisan bill, which is cosponsored by nearly one-third of the House of Representatives, will provide the opportunity for young Americans to become truck drivers, giving them access to good paying jobs in an industry that needs them, while ensuring and promoting safety.  

Though 48 states currently allow individuals to obtain a commercial driver's license at 18, they are prohibited from driving in interstate commerce, crossing state lines, until they are 21.  The DRIVE-Safe Act would change this through a two-step apprenticeship program that creates a path for these drivers to enter the industry.  As the name implies, however, the legislation's first priority is safety.  In order to qualify, candidates must complete at least 400 hours of additional training, more than what is required for any other CDL holder in the nation.  

Seventy percent of the nation's freight is carried by commercial trucks, and even though our economy is struggling with the Covid-19 crisis, motor carriers are having difficulty finding the drivers they need.  Truck drivers are considered to be essential critical infrastructure workers and remain in strong demand to ensure consumers have the food and other essential items they need during this crisis.  With the growth in online ordering and delivery in response to the pandemic, this demand will only grow.  When anticipated driver retirement numbers are combined with the expected growth in capacity, over the next decade, the trucking industry will need to hire roughly 1.1 million new drivers, or an average of nearly 110,000 per year.  Unless we grow the number of drivers entering the industry, companies in supply chains across the economy will face higher transportation costs leading to increased prices for consumers on everything from electronics to food.

Trucks used in the program established by the DRIVE-Safe Act would be required to be outfitted with the latest safety technology including active braking collision mitigation systems, forward-facing event recording cameras, speed limiters set at 65 miles per hour or less and automatic or automatic manual transmissions.  Drivers training within the program will be accompanied by an experienced driver throughout the process.

The DRIVE-Safe Act will help our nation's freight continue to move while preserving and enhancing the safety of our highway system.  It will help fill desperately needed jobs and provide younger Americans with the opportunity to enter a profession where they can earn an average of $53,000 a year with full benefits.  

Thank you for your attention and thoughtful consideration of this important and timely legislation.  We urge you to include the provisions of the DRIVE-Safe Act in the Invest in America Act during the Committee's upcoming legislative markup.  

Sincerely, 

The Tire Industry Association and other trade associations.

 

TIA Signs onto JOBS Credit Act Letter
Dear Representatives Murphy and Katko:
 
The undersigned organizations, representing millions of workers and employers throughout the country, are writing in strong support of the Jumpstarting Our Businesses' Success Credit (JOBS Credit) Act of 2020 (H.R. 6776). Thank you for your strong, bipartisan leadership on H.R. 6776, which will make several improvements to the Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC) and better fulfill its goal of keeping workers connected to their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Building on the ERTC provision included in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (P.L. 116-136 (Section 2301)), the JOBS Credit Act would include a number of policy enhancements, such as: 
  • An expansion of the credit percentage from 50 percent to 80 percent of qualified wages;
  • An increase of the per-employee limitation from $10,000 for all calendar quarters to $15,000 per calendar quarter (and an aggregate of $45,000 for all calendar quarters);
  • A phased-in credit, which will allow employers with more than a 20 percent decline in gross receipts to be eligible for a portion of the credit; and
  • Improved coordination between the ERTC and the Paycheck Protection Program so employers can be eligible for both programs, but with guardrails in place to prevent "double dipping."
Thank you again for your swift, bipartisan leadership that will support both workers and employers to better enable a robust economic recovery. These important enhancements to the ERTC will provide critical relief to employers as they continue to grapple with liquidity challenges during the pandemic.

Sincerely,

The Tire Industry Association and other trade associations.