What a crazy few days in Congress: Just a few hours before the federal government was due set to shutdown, the Senate and House agreed to a 45-day continuing resolution (CR) to keep the government open. Just when it appeared things had somewhat returned to normalcy, a resolution was put forward on the House floor calling for a vote to vacate the chair to remove Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA). As everyone knows by now, for the first time in U.S. history, the House voted to oust a House Speaker, Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), leaving the House without an official speaker; however, Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC) is now acting Speaker. The House is recessed until next Wednesday, as Republicans meet to consider potential candidates for next Speaker of the House. Potential candidates already being surfaced include House Majority Leader, Steve Scalise (R-LA), House Judiciary Chairman, Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN).
S.2928 (Kelly (D-AZ/Cramer (R-ND)): Last week, legislation was introduced in the Senate, S.2928, titled the “Water Infrastructure Subcontractor and Taxpayer Protection Act,” which amends the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) to ensure performance and payment protections are in place on WIFIA funded projects and for WIFIA public-private projects (P3s) agreements. S.2928 provides essential protections for workers, suppliers, and contractors by requiring payment protection on federally financed infrastructure projects receiving WIFIA assistance, including public-private projects (P3s). Similar legislation, H.R. 1740, has already been introduced in the House earlier this Congress. This legislation will be on the list of priorities Fly-in attendees will be asked to address at the 2024 Fly-in.
NASBP meets with U.S. Department of State of Bureau Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO) & provides resources to LOC/Broadband Coalition: The OBO is responsible for construction management of building new embassies and consulates and also responsible for the construction management of hundreds of smaller projects in the range of $100K to $100MM. NASBP staff and the Chair of the International Committee dialogued with OBO on matters such as current industry practices, surety capacity, and recent trends in the overseas construction market. NASBP and OBO are committed to future conversations.
A coalition of nearly 300 organizations, which includes internet service providers (ISPs), state broadband offices, and trade groups sent a letter to U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and Assistant Secretary Alan Davidson urging them to consider performance bonds as an alternative form of security to letters of credit (LOCs) for the Broadband Equity Access and Deployment (BEAD) Program. NASBP has provided the Coalition with background materials in order to make salient policy points on this matter. NASBP has engaged with executives of the National Telecommunications & Information Administration (NTIA) of the U.S. Department of Commerce in discussions. This has been an issue NASBP has worked on dating as far back as 2017, and it will be included on a list of items for Fly-in attendees to address at the 2024 legislative fly-in.
Mark your calendars 2024 Legislative Fly-in: This year the annual legislative Fly-in will take place February 28 and 29. The host hotel (The Hilton Washington, DC, Capitol Hill), is just a few blocks from the capitol. There will be no registration fees to attend the 2024 Fly-in, making it the perfect time to join your NASBP colleagues in the effort to ensure federal policymakers on Capitol Hill understand the significant role bonds play to protect taxpayer funds and advance public works infrastructure projects. February 28 is dedicated as the “Washington Program,” which includes political observations from Amy Walter, Editor-in-Chief of the Cook Political Report, and a surety executives panel discussion regarding current surety market conditions and issues. The Surety Panel will be moderated by NASBP 3rd VP, Monica Donatelli and her panelists will include Mike Ito (Amerisure), Rick Ciullo (Hartford), and Bob Murray (Zurich). February 29 is dedicated entirely to Capitol Hill appointments. NASBP will provide more details about registration in upcoming months. In the meantime, please remember to save the date!