Transportation & Infrastructure

How Do Elections Impact Appropriations?
 

FAA Authorization Headed for House Floor Vote Next Week
Changes to Federal Emergency Management Administration policy also being considered

The House is voting next week on a bill that would reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration. (Scott Olson/Getty Images file photo)

The House will vote next week on a bill that would reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration and change disaster relief policy to focus more on mitigation than recovery.

In a statement Wednesday, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Bill Shuster said the House would vote on an aviation bill that would reauthorize the FAA through fiscal 2023 as well as include provisions of a bill previously passed by the House that makes changes to Federal Emergency Management Administration policy.

Big Plans for Infrastructure Fade to Business as Usual
As lawmakers return from recess, their infrastructure agenda looks a lot like any other year’s

While President Donald Trump and Speaker Paul D. Ryan seem to be on the same page when they talk about breaking up an infrastructure overhaul into several bills, many of those smaller measures would have happened anyway. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Lawmakers returning from a two-week recess Monday may find that the debate over infrastructure looks a lot like routine congressional discussion of transportation bills.

Congress will go to work on aviation reauthorization and waterway and port projects, setting aside a comprehensive infrastructure plan favored by the administration for more discussions.

Metro Seeks Stable Federal Funding as States Set to Pony Up
Plan could hit a stumbling block in President Donald Trump, who has proposed deep cuts

A WMATA Metro Red Line Metro train pulls into Metro Center in Washington in 2016. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

After years of inconsistent funding and budget shortfalls, the Washington Metro is finally on track to get a boost in funding in fiscal 2019 from the District of Columbia, Virginia and Maryland, which would clear the way for the transit system to pursue federal dollars.

The District and its two neighbors would increase the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s fiscal 2019 funding by $126 million over the current $374 million if legislation is enacted in all three jurisdictions. Once those funds are approved, WMATA will also look to continue current federal funding at $150 million per year for the next 10 years, spokeswoman Sherri Ly confirmed Thursday. 

SKorea Trade Pact Is Leverage in Kim Jong Un Talks, Trump Says
President expects Congress will delay infrastructure bill until after midterms

President Donald Trump delivers remarks during the Lation Coalition’s Legislative Summit in Washington on March 7. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images file photo)

President Donald Trump said Thursday he will likely use a South Korea trade pact as leverage in talks with its northern neighbor, and predicted Congress will not take up an infrastructure bill until after November’s midterms.

“Because it’s a very strong card,” he said in Ohio about the revised trade agreement with Seoul, adding he likely will withhold final approval until talks with Pyongyang had played out. 

Trump Will Try to Revive Stalled Infrastructure Plan in Ohio
Legislative effort to implement vision will stretch into 2019, aides say

Cars rest on a collapsed portion of a Mississippi River bridge on I-35 West in August 2007. The White House wants to spend over $1 trillion, most in private funds, on rebuilding infrastructure. (Courtesy Kevin Rofidal/United States Coast Guard/Wikimedia Commons)

President Donald Trump will take Air Force One to Ohio — then likely on to his South Florida resort — on Thursday to try breathing life into an infrastructure plan his senior aides now say will take multiple years to bring about.

The White House hopes to get some — but not all — of his $1.5 trillion package through Congress and signed into law this year. One senior administration official said Wednesday that White House aides expect a “strong push” to get a “big chunk” of the infrastructure plan to his desk by the end of 2018.

Overview: Where the Omnibus Money Is Going
Congress last week passed a $1.3 trillion government spending bill

Last week Congress passed, and the president signed, a 12-bill omnibus spending package that funds the government through September. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Ignoring President Donald Trump’s budget request in some cases, lawmakers last week passed a fiscal 2018 omnibus spending package with a discretionary funding level of $1.29 trillion — 10 percent higher than fiscal 2017 thanks to the budget agreement reached last month.

Here’s a look at how the enacted omnibus, previously proposed spending levels by the House and Senate, and the president’s FY18 request stack up:

After Self-Created Drama, Trump Signs Omnibus
After grousing about deal, president asks for line-item veto

President Donald Trump on Friday first threatened to veto a massive government funding bill only to later sign it into law. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Updated at 2:24 p.m. | President Donald Trump on Friday backed down from a seemingly out-of-the-blue veto threat when he signed a $1.3 trillion omnibus spending package that averts a government shutdown he nearly triggered after lawmakers left town.

The double presidential about-face came on yet another chaotic day at Trump’s White House. Aides, Secret Service agents and journalists scurried about for hours, with the dramatics culminating with Trump announcing a 1 p.m. press conference for which his staff was clearly not prepared.

With Omnibus, Trump Learning You Can’t Always Get What You Want
White House priorities reflected, but not some of the premier asks

Speaker Paul D. Ryan glances toward President Donald Trump during a Feb. 28 ceremony for the late Rev. Billy Graham at the Capitol. (Aaron P. Bernstein/Reuters/Pool file photo)

Lawmakers defied President Donald Trump by excluding many of his demands in an emerging government spending bill. But the measure is not a complete loss for the commander in chief despite the late-game lobbying needed to secure his always tenuous support.

By mid-afternoon Wednesday, as lawmakers were saying final negotiations were underway, Trump’s signature was not yet certain. White House aides had gone silent on the matter, usually a sign the boss is unhappy. But the president signed off on the omnibus spending deal during an afternoon meeting with Speaker Paul D. Ryan, according to a Republican leadership source familiar with the meeting.

After Dog Dies On United Airlines Flight Sen. John Kennedy Proposes Bill
‘Violators will face significant fines. Pets are family.’

Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., will propose legislation to prevent airlines from putting animals in overhead storage bins. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. John Kennedy, like most Americans, was outraged when he read the news an English bulldog puppy had died in overhead storage on a United Airlines flight this week.

So outraged that he is proposing legislation to outlaw airlines from putting dogs and other animals in overhead bins. Officials would face significant fines if they do not comply.

In Shift, White House Embraces Art of the Possible
GOP source: ‘You’re just not going to pass legislation in 2018’

President Donald Trump speaks at Republicans’ retreat in West Virginia on Feb. 1 as Speaker Paul D. Ryan and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise look on. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump and White House officials, with their modest response to school shootings and in other recent remarks, have shelved bold demands of Congress for asks rooted more in the art of the possible.

The president started 2018 by pushing members of both parties to swing for the fences on a sweeping immigration deal, even offering them political cover when he told them he would “take all the heat you want to give me.”

Five Cabinet Secretaries Face Senate Barrage
Questions range from infrastructure to nuclear waste to the Census

Senate Commerce Chairman John Thune's panel hosted five Cabinet secretaries on Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

It’s not every day — or even every decade — that five cabinet secretaries walk in to testify at the same Senate hearing.

And while Wednesday’s Commerce, Science and Transportation hearing generally focused on President Donald Trump’s proposal to rebuild American infrastructure (and doubts about how to pay for it), senators took full advantage of having so many heavy hitters in one room.

Ryan’s Piecemeal Approach May Keep GOP Infrastructure Push Afloat
But speaker’s strategy of multiple bills could complicate Senate passage

Speaker Paul D. Ryan wants to break an infrastructure overhaul into pieces, moving five to six bills before the August recess. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A key piece of the Republicans’ 2018 legislative agenda is shape-shifting.

Speaker Paul D. Ryan’s pronouncement last week that an infrastructure overhaul will be tackled in multiple bills serves a dual purpose: It keeps hope for one of the president’s top policy priorities alive, while setting more realistic expectations for what will get done this midterm election year.

Thune Clears Path for Long-Term Aviation Bill This Summer
Commerce chairman abandons effort to change how pilot hours are counted

Senate Commerce Chairman John Thune is dropping a controversial pilot training provision from the aviation bill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

South Dakota Sen. John Thune’s decision to drop a controversial provision on pilot training clears a path for lawmakers to complete a long-term aviation reauthorization bill this summer that addresses drones, aircraft certification, safety and other issues.

Thune, the chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, said last week he was abandoning his effort to change how pilot hours are counted. That came after House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Bill Shuster gave up the week before on spinning off the air traffic control system from the Federal Aviation Administration. Both proposals encountered stiff resistance in Congress.

Ryan Says Infrastructure Overhaul Will Be Done in 5 to 6 Bills
'We don’t want to do one big bill,' speaker says

Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., said an infrastructure overhaul is easier to pass if broken into pieces. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker Paul D. Ryan on Thursday affirmed House Republicans’ intentions to complete an infrastructure overhaul this year but said that the effort will be broken into pieces. 

“We don’t want to do one big bill,” the Wisconsin Republican said at an event in Georgia with Home Depot employees.