Washington Waves
Washington Waves

Debt Limit/Spending Cut Bill Passes House Vote

Washington, D.C.—Even while losing four Republican votes, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) managed to squeak through a bill linking a debt limit hike to spending cuts and other changes.

H.R. 2811, the Limit, Save, Grow Act passed 217 to 215.

“House Republicans just delivered a plan that will address the country’s debt crisis,” McCarthy and his fellow Republican leaders said in a press release.

“The president must come to the table to negotiate.”

Initial reaction from the White House, which previously announced President Joe Biden would veto the bill if given the chance, did not indicate a change with the House vote.

Congressional Republicans must act to avoid default, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) called the House bill DOA in his chamber and urged McCarthy to pass a “clean bill” to avoid default.

Thumbs Down On Budget

The chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee joined other Democrats in giving thumbs down to President Joe Biden’s budget request for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) said Congress needs to be bolder and build on last year’s progress.

“Defense spending tends to get a lot of attention, but we cannot forget that our rivers and our waterways are some of the most critical resources we have,” Murray said while chairing an Energy and Water Development Subcommittee hearing on the budget.

She also pressed Michael Connor, assistant secretary of the Army-civil works, about the effort to ensure the Corps meets all of the targets for the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund.

“As you know, I’ll be watching that very closely,” said Murray, who played a role on those targets.

Coast Guard Reauthorization

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee voted overwhelmingly to advance a two-year bill reauthorizing Coast Guard funding, boosting spending on key missions and addressing a mariner shortage.

Approved by a vote of 58 to 3, H.R. 2741 now heads to the full House for consideration.

It provides $14.24 billion for fiscal year 2024 and $14.78 billion for fiscal year 2025.

“As we all know, the Coast Guard continues to suffer from insufficient funding,” Ranking Member Rick Larsen (D-Wash.) said, pointing to a $3 billion shoreside infrastructure backlog and the lack of ice-breaking capability in the Arctic and the Great Lakes.

Larsen also singled out $3.48 billion in the bill for the procurement, construction and improvement account, which he described as “well above” President Biden’s budget request.

Referring to processing delays on mariner credentials, he cited $11 million included in the bill for a new electronic credentialing system.

Levee Safety Program

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced the start of Phase 2 of the National Levee Safety Program, which it launched with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to improve the management of levees to reduce the impact of flooding and improve the resilience of communities located behind levees.

Phase 2 involves the solicitation of input on draft products and resources developed during Phase1.

Comments must be submitted by June 30.

Identified by Docket Number COE-2021-0007, the comments may be submitted via www.regulations.gov, email at hqleveesafety@usace.army.mil or mail at U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Vicksburg District, ATTN: Levee Safety Center—Room 221, 4155 E. Clay St., Vicksburg, MS 39183.

For additional information, contact Tammy Conforti at 202-365-6586 or hq-leveesafety@usace.army.mil.

Transportation Infrastructure Resiliency

Ports are eligible to compete in an $848 million grant program to make the nation’s transportation infrastructure more resilient to impacts of climate change, including through nature-based solutions.

Announced by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) represents the first round of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s Promoting Resilient Operations for Transformative, Efficient and Cost-Saving Transportation (PROTECT) Discretionary Grant Program.

Other eligible projects include highways, public transportation, pedestrian facilities and intercity passenger rail.

“The program prioritizes innovative and collaborative approaches to risk reduction—including approaches that harness the power of nature to protect against flood, erosion, wave damage and heat impacts,” FHWA stated, adding the grant funding comes on top of PROTECT formula funding that is already flowing to states.

The NOFO for fiscal years 2022 and 2023 will remain open through August 18.

Shipper Advisory Commission

The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) announced the National Shipper Advisory Commission (NSAC) is scheduled to meet in person May 11 in Washington, D.C.

Open to the public, the meeting is set to begin at 1 p.m. Eastern at the FMC’s Hearing Room, 800 N. Capitol St. NW, Washington, DC 20573.

Requests to register should be submitted to nsac@fmc.gov by 5 p.m. EDT May 9 and contain ‘‘REGISTER FOR NSAC MEETING’’ in the subject line.

Space will be limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis for those registering in advance.

The meeting also will stream live via a link at www.fmc.gov.

For additional information, contact Dylan Richmond at 202-523-5810 or drichmond@fmc.gov.


The Maritime Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health (MACOSH) is scheduled to meet May 23-24 in a hybrid format with the public participating either in person or virtually via WebEx.

On May 23, the MACOSH Shipyard and Longshoring Workgroups are set to meet at 9:30 a.m. EDT, and on May 24, the MACOSH full committee is set to meet at 9:30 a.m. EDT.

Comments and requests to speak at the meeting on May 23 must be submitted electronically at www.regulations.gov by May 16 with Docket No. OSHA–2022–0011.

Those wishing to attend the meeting in-person or virtually must register via the registration link on the MACOSH web page at www.osha.gov/advisorycommittee/macosh.

At this time, in-person attendance is limited to 25 members of the public.

For additional information, contact Amy Wangdahl at 202-693-2066 or wangdahl.amy@dol.gov.