Congressional Update

The House is scheduled to vote the week of June 28 on the INVEST in America Act (H.R.3684), legislation that would authorize $547 billion for highways and surface transportation programs for the next five years.

As the legislation is considered on the House floor, members have an opportunity to amend the bill text. Currently, the legislation includes provisions that would allow electric vehicle (EV) charging at rest areas and on the Interstate right-of-way.

We urge you to contact your Representative and ask them to support Rep. Rick Larsen’s amendments #70 and #71 that would remove these harmful provisions and promote EMA member interest by directing the Secretary of Transportation to conduct a study to determine the effect that commercial services at rest areas would have on off-highway businesses and local communities while also allowing states to offer EV charging at park and ride facilities. Click here to write Congress in support of the Larsen Amendment.

In advance of floor consideration, EMA worked with industry partners and Hill supporters to secure a letter, signed by 17 House members, that urges Congressional leaders to ensure that the policies and incentives put forth to develop a charging network for electric vehicles (EVs) result in a price-competitive and convenient refueling marketplace for consumers and promotes small business fuel marketers who play a critical role in the energy and fuel supply chain. View the letter here.

Yesterday, President Biden and twenty-one bipartisan Senators announced a $1.2 trillion hard infrastructure framework, of which $579 billion will be new spending. The two-page framework includes $312 billion for transportation, including $110 billion for roads and bridges; $50 billion for public transit and $7 billion for electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure.

The framework also includes tens of billions for broadband and water infrastructure and $20 billion for an infrastructure financing bank. The framework would pay for the spending by repurposing certain unspent COVID-relief funds; increasing IRS tax enforcement; reinstating Superfund chemical fees; using proceeds from 5G spectrum auctions; selling a certain amount of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve; and accelerating public-private partnerships.

While President Biden announced the framework, he also said that he would not sign the bipartisan bill without a broader reconciliation package that included other priorities from the American Jobs Plan and American Families Plan.

President Biden would like Congress to vote on both pieces of legislation in tandem before the end of the federal fiscal year on September 30. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) agreed, saying that the House would not vote on the Senate’s bipartisan package without also advancing a reconciliation package. Senate Budget Committee Chair Sanders (I-VT) is preparing a reconciliation package to include President Biden’s social infrastructure proposals, as well as measures on prescription drug pricing and lowering the Medicare eligibility age.

Prospects for passage remain uncertain given the development that Democrats plan to move a bipartisan proposal through regular order and a separate partisan measure through reconciliation. There is no certainty that all 50 Senate Democrats would remain unified to advance a reconciliation package.

There is also a risk that Democrats’ reconciliation push could harm the overall bipartisan agreement, as Republican Senators may be less likely to go along with the package knowing that a partisan reconciliation process looms around the corner.

The Senate left DC today and is scheduled to return July 12. Over the next few weeks, we anticipate staff to further define the framework and prep legislation for consideration in mid-July at the earliest.

TAP HERE for all articles in June 28 EXPRESS Update