September 14, 2015 • Volume 12, Issue #14
CONGRESS BACK, BUT EMBATTLED
Congress returned from recess on September 8, but with limited legislative days to deal with a host of controversial issues.
No FY 2016 appropriations bills have passed nor been signed into law by the President. A Continuing Resolution (CR) to keep the government operating is certain, and the House is expected to unveil its version of a short-term CR next week. The House may try to limit or eliminate Federal funding of Planned Parenthood, which would slow progress on the bill. Speaker Boehner and Senate Majority Leader McConnell have vowed not to allow another government shutdown, but it remains a possibility.
For inland navigation, FY ’15 funding remains strong, with record-levels of O&M funding, $281 million of Federal funding to the Inland Waterways Trust Fund, and record Harbor Maintenance funding.
POPE TO ADDRESS CONGRESS
Pope Francis will address a joint session of Congress at 10 a.m. on Thursday, September 24, which promises to gridlock Washington, DC.
The President of China, Xi Jinping, will also be visiting the Nation’s capital shortly thereafter for a meeting with President Obama and a state dinner.
OTHER CHALLENGES AHEAD
Sequestration could be reinstated which would result in across-the-board spending cuts to Federal agencies, including the Corps.
The highway program’s current short-term extension will expire on October 29, but the U.S. Department of Transportation issued a report last week indicating that the recent $8 billion injection of funding to the program will last through the middle of next year. This may alleviate some pressure to move a long-term reauthorization this year..
The United States will likely hit its debt ceiling in the October-November timeframe, so a vote to increase the debt limit will need to occur later in the Fall.
On September 1, the Nebraska Corn Growers Association toured Mel Price Lock and Dam, which was the first time seeing a Corps navigation project for many of those making the tour.
Gary LaGrange, President of the Port of New Orleans, will address the St. Louis River Industry Club on September 22.
WCI/ILLINOIS CORN VIDEO VIEWED BY 805,000+
WCI and the Illinois Corn Marketing Board have undertaken a two-month campaign with Google and YouTube to have more than one million people view WCI’s 30-second video about the importance of the waterways to agriculture. Since the campaign began on August 10, to date more than 805,000 people have viewed the video in its entirety. See it and give it a “thumbs up” here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=khSc9wXDeq4
UPCOMING INDUSTRY ACTIVITIES
- September 25: WCI Legislative Roundtable Discussion, 11 a.m. Eastern
- SAVE THE DATES:November 11-13: WCI/Informa Economics/Waterways Journal Fall Waterways Symposium (New Orleans, LA). Register online here: http://www.etouches.com/128790
- March 9-11, 2016: WCI Washington Meeting/Leadership Service Award Dinner (Madison Hotel, Washington, DC)