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Congress Back in Session for Uncertain Year

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Congress returned to Washington on Tuesday, January 7, to kick off the Second Session of the 116th Congress. Overshadowing the legislative session is impeachment, and, more broadly, the 2020 elections. Trade and international tensions are further complicating the landscape. The Democratic presidential primary continues to unfold dramatically, as late entrants Michael Bloomberg and Deval Patrick kick off their campaigns and the rest of the remaining contestants gear up for Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and beyond.

While prospects of meaningful policy work in Washington are dim, there was renewed discussion of infrastructure toward the end of 2019; House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-OR) is expected to introduce a surface reauthorization bill. In addition, the Committee has announced a hearing on the Water Resources Development Act reauthorization, although it is expected that the Senate will put forward a reauthorization bill first. It is possible that the House cobbles together a number of smaller bills typically considered separately to produce a “larger” infrastructure package. The Senate has already passed a surface transportation reauthorization package out of the Environment and Public Works Committee, but there is no proposal as to how it will be financed.

Meanwhile, Congress is expected to go through the typical procedures this spring for producing a budget and appropriations. The appropriations process will be of particular interest to NRMCA as we guard against efforts of other industries to insert preferential language for their materials.

For more information, contact Andrew Tyrrell at


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