Your Congress in Action: Vol. 4

05/14/2020 3:04 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

Your Congress in Action is a new series that highlights the Capitol Hill news that affects CRM firms the most. This information is sourced from the Coalition for American Heritage, news articles, and more. Be sure to subscribe to the ACRAsphere to ensure you don't miss an update.

  • The SBA put out new guidance and FAQs regarding the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), and one particular aspect they have clarified concerns the good-faith certification that is required as a part of a borrower's loan request: borrowers that received an original principal amount of less than $2 million will be deemed to have made the required certification concerning the necessity of the loan request in good faith. More details on the guidance are available here.
  • Congressional Democrats have put forth a draft CARES 2 bill focused on aiding state and local governments, expanding testing, and tax policies to counter the economic devastation caused by the pandemic. The House could vote on the bill and a plan for proxy voting as early as Friday. Infrastructure is not a priority in the package, although some groups are pushing the idea. Infrastructure in CARES 2 is focused on broadband. More information on the CARES 2 bill is available in our blog post here.
  • Senator McConnell has expressed doubt as to whether another pandemic relief bill is needed, and has indicated that any Senate action would not occur until at least June. He also wants to pass a bill that would protect employers from lawsuits if employees get infected by coronavirus while on the job.
  • Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) published an editorial blasting “the steps recommended in a new report by the Nuclear Fuel Working Group, an industry-stacked panel the president created though an executive order in July 2019.” Their recommendations involve creating a categorical exclusion from NEPA for uranium mineral exploration and development. Rep. Grijalva is especially concerned about lifting a moratorium on uranium development around the Grand Canyon.
  • The Coalition for American Heritage, of which ACRA is a founding member, joined the National Trust for Historic Preservation and Preservation Action for a letter regarding the CARES 2 bill, which was covered in both the Architect’s Newspaper and Architectural Record. See the full letter in our post here.
  • Rep. Ed Case (D-HI) and Re. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) introduced a bill to study the viability of creating a national heritage area at Ka‘ena Point in Hawaii.
  • Secretary Bernhardt has extended the appointments of William Perry Pendley at BLM and David Vela at NPS, despite the threat of lawsuits over violations of the Federal Vacancies Act.
  • Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) introduced a bill, HR 6745, to prohibit implementation of a rule defining “waters of the U.S.”
  • Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) and Senator Tom Carper (D-DE), the top Republican and Democrat on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, introduced bipartisan draft legislation, S. 3591 and S. 3590, that would authorize $19.5 billion for Army Corps of Engineers flood protection, ecological restoration and other projects, as well as Environmental Protection Agency wastewater treatment and drinking water programs, more than double the funding the last water package provided. The bill sets a two-year goal for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Army Corps) to complete its feasibility studies for potential projects. It also allows other federal agencies to review categorical exclusions the Army Corps currently has, and if necessary, create new categorical exclusions.
  • NOAA published a Federal Register notice to solicit public comments on Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary nomination and its consideration to remain on the inventory of successful nominations for an additional 5 years. More information and commenting instructions can be found here. Here is a quick excerpt on the proposed sanctuary:

    The cultural significance of Chumash heritage makes this proposed national marine sanctuary the only one of its kind. The Chumash once lived in villages west of current tidal lines and on Point Conception. The ocean has submerged the homes of the Chumash ancestors. Protecting these submerged ancient villages from future industrial encroachment will ensure the resting places of the ancestors remain undisturbed.

    The intent behind the five-year review is to ensure that the inventory contains nominations that are relevant and meet the needs of the local community and the nation. NOAA will accept public comment through June 15 and will also host a virtual public meeting on May 27 to gather input on the nomination. Cultural heritage professionals are encouraged to comment.

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