Washington, D.C.—For President Joe Biden, the lesson from his party’s disappointing showing in off-year elections will be to work harder to get Congress to approve his legislative agenda.
“I do know that people want us to get things done,” Biden told reporters.
“And that’s why I’m continuing to push very hard for the Democratic Party to move along and pass my infrastructure bill and my Build Back Better bill.”
He said that legislative success will help relieve the uncertainty people feel about issues such as the price of gasoline, COVID, education and jobs.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), whose chamber is to be the first to take up the Build Back Better bill, put the legislative process in motion to prepare for that floor vote.
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), however, took a different lesson from the elections in New Jersey, where the incumbent Democratic governor came close to losing, and in Virginia, where a Republican newcomer backed by former President Donald Trump beat a former Democratic governor trying to make a comeback.
On the Build Back Better bill, Manchin told Fox News the election results suggested Democrats should slow down and take a breath before voting on such a massive bill whose price tag of $3.5 trillion is expected to be cut significantly.
On a trillion-dollar bipartisan infrastructure bill that passed the Senate months ago, he said there is no excuse the House has not voted on the bill, which Democratic leaders have linked to the other bill.
That traditional infrastructure measure includes $17 billion for ports and waterways.
Manchin is one of the moderate Democrats whose vote is crucial in an evenly divided Senate.
Storage At Inland Ports
Developing inland port facilities for increased warehouse storage could be among projects kick started through an innovative partnership on supply chain infrastructure announced by the U.S. Department of Transportation and California.
John Porcari, the Biden administration’s port envoy, said the agreement will serve as a model for other states.
According to the announcement, projects worth billions of dollars potentially could benefit, such as port-specific upgrades, expansion of freight rail capacity, railyard and truck electrification and highway upgrades to improve truck travel times.
“California’s ports and infrastructure system is key to the country’s supply chain,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said.
“Thanks to our collaboration with the Biden-Harris administration, this innovative federal-state partnership will help us fast-track those projects that will make our ports and infrastructure even more efficient.”
Innovative financing opportunities will be explored through the federal government’s Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) and Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing (RRIF).
Bicameral Funding Talks
Top appropriators opened talks on government funding for fiscal year 2022, and reports indicate the bipartisan, bicameral meeting did not go well.
In a statement, Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee, dismissed talk of using a full-year continuing resolution as an “empty threat.”
DeLauro said that approach undercuts both parties’ priorities and deprives families, businesses and communities of the certainty need.
She made it clear she wants the talks to focus on enacting an omnibus bill to keep the government open in December.
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said an “endless cycle of continuing resolutions” would lead to cutting programs and handcuffing the nation’s response to the pandemic and climate change.
Under a stopgap measure passed last month, funding for federal agencies expires December 3.
Shipper Advisory Committee
In its inaugural meeting on October 27, the Federal Maritime Commission’s (FMC) National Shipper Advisory Committee was asked to begin discussions on information sharing and transparency, cargo fees and surcharges and current conditions in the supply chain.
Prior to that virtual meeting, the FMC stated, committee members elected Brian Bumpass, Brenntag North America, as chair and Michael Symonanis, Louis Dreyfus Company, as vice chair.
Created as part of a law enacted earlier this year, the committee is to advise the FMC on policies relating to the competitiveness, reliability, integrity and fairness of the international ocean freight delivery system.
It also will be responsible for identifying the scope of its work and for providing its advice, reports and recommendations to the FMC.
Minutes of the meeting are to be posted on the FMC’s website, where future committee meetings will be announced along with notice in the Federal Register.
Appointed for three-year terms, members of the committee represent retailers, agricultural producers, food and beverage companies and ocean transportation intermediaries.
Shortly after the inaugural meeting, the FMC posted a request in the Federal Register for applications to a fill a vacancy on the 24-member committee.
According to the FMC, the vacancy occurred when a member reported a change in employment.
For additional information, contact Dylan Richmond at 202-523-5810.
MERPAC To Meet
The National Merchant Marine Personnel Advisory Committee and its working groups are scheduled to meet November 16-18 in Piney Point, Md., to discuss issues relating to U.S. Merchant Marine personnel including training, qualifications, certification, documentation and fitness of mariners.
Open to the public, the meetings are to be held at the Harry Lundeberg School of Seamanship, 45353 Saint Georges Ave., Piney Point, Md. 20674.
They are set to begin at 8:30 a.m. on the first two days and at 9 a.m. on the third day, when the full committee is scheduled to meet.
For additional information and to pre-register for in-person access, contact Megan Johns Henry at 202-372-1255.