AIA COTE Advocacy and AIA Government Relations and Advocacy staff had their first monthly conference call on March 13, 2018. As most COTE Advocacy priorities concern protecting Federal funding for programs and agencies that support sustainable design, the discussion focused primarily on the 2019 federal budget.
The Administration’s budget proposal that drastically reduced funding to the EPA and DOE was met with “deep skepticism” on The Hill. Instead, an omnibus FY’18 spending bill was passed by Congress in February. AIA Government Relations reports that the production of this stop-gap spending resolution was “opaque” and the full extent of interim funding is not yet known. However, the actual FY’19 federal budgeting process will be taken up by the House Appropriations Committee in early May and June this year. This process will give AIA COTE and Government Affairs an opportunity to “play offense” and engage the members of this committee on direct district-level advocacy work in support of EPA, DOE, and other agency and program budgets.
Under other ongoing initiatives, the AIA submitted a response to Representative Tonko’s inquiry regarding comprehensive cap-and-trade legislation with the input of many AIA COTE members. AIA staff has been in touch with Tonko’s staff in anticipation of next steps: either a legislative proposal or continued stakeholder meetings as part of further legislative study. And although the Administration’s infrastructure “plan” has unsurprisingly prompted no Congressional response, AIA Government Relations made note of two recently filed bills that could present opportunities to advance the COTE agenda:
- An amendment to the Water Resources Development Act that would update water standards as administered by the Army Corps of Engineers impacting 80% of all US water resources. In addition to water conservation measures, this bill may also have some bearing on chemical safety research matters.
- A reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration budget that may be influenced to include greater resilient and sustainable design standards for airports.