WRDA Signed Into Law

WRDA Signed Into Law, Now on Two-Year Reauthorization Cycle

Recently, President Obama signed the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) authorizing EPA, (Environmental Protection Agency) to provide assistance for a wide variety of projects including $170 million in aid to Flint, Michigan to help repair its drinking water system.

In a bill-signing ceremony at the White House, The President explained how WRDA will “put Americans to work modernizing our water infrastructure and restoring some of our most vital ecosystems.…

EPA Begins New Water Financing Program

On Monday, December 19, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued an interim final rule on credit assistance for water infrastructure projects that will become immediately effective.  The rule allows EPA to begin implementing the new Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program.

National Need = $660 Billion

In the rule, the EPA estimates the national funding need for capital improvements for such facilities totals approximately $660 billion over the next 20 years.  The vast majority of that need, 90% or $591 billion, is for repair, rehabilitation, and replacement of existing infrastructure.

Federal Budget & Economic Forecast (p.2)

Budget Revenues 2016

Budget Revenues 2016

To give you some perspective, since 1966 the U.S. has maintained an annual deficit, where federal spending surpassed federal income, in all but 5 years (1969, 1998-2001). Over this 50-year period the U.S. deficit has averaged 2.8 percent of U.S Gross Domestic Product (GDP). According to the World Bank estimated 2014 GDP for the U.S. was $17. 4 trillion, #1 in world followed by China with a GDP of $10.4 trillion.…

Federal Budget & Economic Forecast (p.1)

President Obama announces his annual budget

President Obama announces his FY 2017 budget

As in each year preceding, on February 9, President Obama released his annual budget for the U.S. that tops $4 trillion.  The budget outlines the current Administration’s policy proposals, budgetary projections, and economic forecasts for the next decade. This will be the last annual budget report for his administration.

The Obama Administration can be commended for controlling the federal budget deficit as the deficit has improved over the last 6 years.  But, prior to the budget announcement, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released their annual Budget and Economic Outlook report saying the U.S. will be unable to sustain improving deficits in the next decade (2016-2026).  CBO’s analysis is conducted assuming current federal policies remain in place. Congressional leaders and others use the data to assess recent policy decisions and to guide future policy decisions for federal programs.…

FY 2016 NDAA Heads To POTUS For Likely Signature

FY 2016 National Defense Authorization Act Heads To POTUS For Likely SignatureLast week the U.S. Senate passed the FY 2016 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) by an overwhelming margin, 91-3.

The NDAA was amended into an unrelated Senate-passed bill, S 1356, the Border Patrol Agent Pay Reform Act of 2014. Since the Senate had adopted S. 1356 previously on May 14, only one, simple majority vote was required for passage.

The U.S. House adopted the NDAA on November 5 by a vote of 370-58.…

Election changes continued…

A Larger Majority

Senator Mitch McConnell (KY)

Senator Mitch McConnell (KY)

House Speaker John Boehner (OH-R) and his leadership team will now have a larger majority of rank-n-file members to work with.  Also, there will be some reassignments of powerful committee chairs as some Chairmen have reached their six-year term limitation, a policy agreement among the republican caucus.…

Administration to Re-Direct up to $473.4 Million in Unused Earmarks

Are Your State Transportation Funds Impacted?

On August 17th, the Obama Administration announced that it would use up to $473.4 million in unused appropriation earmarks provided by previous Congresses spanning from 2003 to 2006 to pay for new transportation projects. US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said the Administration scoured the federal government to identify the unused funds while Congress was enduring rancorous debate on the on-again, off-again transportation re-authorization negotiations that ultimately ended up in a $105 billion, 2-year deal. The deal was reached just prior to the expiration of the ninth extension (2009) of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU).…

Importers Beware!

Food safety regulation balancing with corporate survivalPresident Obama signed into law The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA – P.L. 111-353) on January 4, 2011. The Food and Drug Administration will publish their FSMA regulations this year. What this means for importers is:

  • prepare to establish a risk-based foreign supplier verification program that guarantees imported food from each supplier is produced to the same U.S. safety standards required under the Food Drug and Cosmetic Act as amended by FSMA.
  • maintain thorough documentation on your consignments, including ingredients and the manufacturing processes involved
  • traceability of food products for humans and animals are the responsibility of the importer
  • if food products for humans or animals are not allowed entry into the U.S. within 15 calendar days the goods may be placed in a warehouse at the importer’s risk and expense.  If the goods are not allowed entry within six months from the date of importation, they can be sold at public auction or destroyed. Perishable items may be sold sooner. Destruction of any contaminated consignment(s) that are refused entry into the U.S. must be accomplished within the regulatory guidelines of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Custom and Border Protection (CBP).
  • in cases where FDA has “reasonable probability” of the food article causing serious adverse health effects or death to humans or animals, FDA may suspend the registration of the food facility.…

The Food Safety Modernization Act

The Food Safety Modernization Act - Cansler Consulting, lobbyistsThe Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA – P.L. 111-353) was signed into law by President Obama on January 4, 2011. The new law was created to address the estimated 48 million people who are sickened, 128,000 who are hospitalized and 3,000 who die each year as a result of food borne diseases according to the CDC. Leading officials indicate this public health issue is “largely preventable.”

Since the new law was enacted the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been busy on several fronts to begin implementation of the new law. It is estimated that 50 new rules, numerous guidance dockets and reports will be required to implement the law over the course of three years.…

2nd Session of the 112th Congress: A Preview of the Issues

With the nation’s eyes on who wins the prize in the Iowa republican Presidential caucus, very few realize that today the second session of the 112th Congress began, albeit in pro forma session.

In actuality, the legislative business of the second session of the 112th Congress will begin in the U.S. House of Representatives on January 17 and in the U.S. Senate on January 23. President Obama will deliver his annual State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress on January 24.

Here are some of the issues Cansler Consulting will be tracking for clients in the second session of the 112th Congress:

Agriculture: The last Farm Bill adopted by Congress in 2008 is set to expire on September 30 this year.  Leaders of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees will resume congressional hearings on the 2012 Farm Bill and have indicated that the starting point for the next farm bill will be the plan crafted for the failed negotiations of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction.  That plan included $23 billion in budget reductions for agriculture.…

Rural Development & The President’s Jobs Plan

Rural Development & rural healthcareDuring the President’s speech to a Joint Session of Congress on September 8, he said, “Every proposal I’ve laid out tonight is the kind that’s been supported by Democrats and Republicans in the past.”  Typically, the opposition party would be totally dismissive of such remarks, but with the U.S. economy on the ropes and a U.S. electorate demanding action to remedy it, that’s why many congressional Republicans cannot totally dismiss the remarks of the President.

Reducing Regulatory Burdens & Stimulating Jobs

Reducing Regulatory BurdenThe U.S. House continues to focus on numerous federal regulations deemed as “overburdensome” and that if ended, may stimulate the economy and create jobs. Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) has sent a letter to President Obama requesting a list of all proposed regulations that are estimated to have an economic impact exceeding $1 billion.…

Obama: Revamping the Farm Subsidy System

In a CBS town hall meeting on May 12th, President Obama discusses how difficult it is for congressional leaders from rural districts that have historically benefited from existing farm subsidies to change policies to address 21st Century challenges in agriculture. More than ever, if your organization needs its voice heard in Washington and assistance in protecting…