Washington, DC Update

September 24, 2021

Continuing Resolution 

On Tuesday, the House approved a continuing resolution, on a 220-211 party-line vote, that would extend government funding through December 3 and prevent a government shutdown. The bill also includes a provision to temporarily extend the public debt limit through December 16, 2022, after mid-term elections. 

In addition to extending FY 2021 appropriations, the bill provides an additional $10 billion to cover losses from natural disasters occurring in 2020 and 2021, an extension of the Wildfire Hurricane Indemnity Program Plus (WHIP+), and $275 million for the Emergency Watershed Protection Program (EWP) to help communities address damages to infrastructure caused by natural disasters. The bill also includes funding to the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation for drought response, including $200 million for western drought response activities and $10 million for fire remediation activities and firefighting costs.

Senate Republicans have stated that they would not support the bill, releasing their own version of the continuing resolution shortly after. The Senate Republicans’ version includes the $10 billion for WHIP+, with the provision allowing losses in 2020 and 2021 to be covered, and the $275 million for EWP. The bill does not include an extension of the public debt limit and reinserts $1 billion for Israel’s Iron Dome defense system that was removed earlier during House consideration to appease House progressives.

Congress must pass a continuing resolution before the end of the fiscal year to prevent a government shutdown on October 1.

Supply Chain Czar

President Biden has appointed former Deputy Transportation Secretary John Porcari as the Port Envoy to the Biden-Harris Administration’s Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force.

The Task Force is working to address supply and demand discrepancies that occur across several sectors of the economy. Envoy Porcari will work closely with Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, who leads the Task Force, and the National Economic Council to address the persistent congestion at U.S. ports.

Since 2019, shipping disruptions and increased demand have increased the cost of shipping containers between the U.S. and China over 90%. West Coast ports, including the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, have been particularly affected. Envoy Porcari will work with stakeholders to address the increasing backlog and associated delivery delays.
Porcari served as Deputy Secretary and Chief Operating Officer of the Department of Transportation during the Obama-Biden administration and was directly involved in overseeing maritime policy and maritime-related competitive programs. 

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