RCAP’S BUILD BACK BETTER (BBB) STATEMENT
Please check out RCAP’s official Build Back Better (BBB) statement here.
PREVIOUS POLICY CORNER UPDATES:
FY2022 APPROPRIATIONS – Congress will need to pass a continuing funding resolution at the end of September given that work on annual FY2022 appropriations will not be finished before the start of the new federal fiscal year on October 1.
DRINKING WATER AND WASTEWATER INFRASTRUCTURE ACT OF 2021 – It is rare these days to find bipartisanship in Washington on most issues, but water is not one of them. This spring, the United States Senate on a bipartisan basis, passed the Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act (DWWIA) of 2021. This water infrastructure legislation will help rural communities by breaking down barriers that make it difficult for small and disadvantaged systems to access federal funds. First, the bill increases authorizations for the Drinking Water and Clean Water State Revolving Funds and increases the percentages of these funds that states must use for grants, negative interest loans, and debt forgiveness measures. Additionally, the bill provides several new avenues for rural communities, schools, and childcare centers to access technical assistance and training from qualified non-profit organizations. Improved access to funding and technical assistance will give many small systems the capacity they need to become financially independent and to ensure reliably safe and affordable service to their customers. RCAP also strongly supports the creation of a nationwide, permanent federal low-income water assistance program. Although this provision did not make it into the Senate bill, we are appreciative of the Senate’s efforts to create a pilot program toward those ends, as well as the $1.1 billion in funding for low income assistance provided by recent COVID-19 relief packages. While these will not adequately meet the funding need, currently estimated to be over $8 billion, they represent a strong first step towards an eventual nation-wide, permanent assistance program.
RCAP SENATE HEARING TESTIMONY – In March, RCAP’s Chief Executive Officer, Nathan Ohle, testified in front of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works in support of the proposed low-income assistance program and the provisions expanding technical assistance to communities that need it most. You can view the full hearing and Nathan’s testimony here.
IMPROVED WATER INFRASTRUCTURE – RCAP and our partners are continuing to beat the drum for improved water infrastructure by helping communities and water systems access much-needed federal resources and capacity. It is our hope and goal that water issues remain a bipartisan issue to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all Americans.