While the White House has largely remained silent on the details of the next economic stimulus plan as it focuses on enacting a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 reconciliation relief bill, this has not stopped Congress from beginning preliminary hearings on various infrastructure and green transportation related topics:

  • On Tuesday, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment held a hearing on “Building Back Better: The Urgent Need for Investment in America’s Wastewater Infrastructure.”  During the hearing, Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-Oregon) expressed his support for major facility funding, stating “I’m going to push for a very ambitious number and then we’re going to find ways to pay for it.”  Chairman DeFazio did not specify how much money he will seek, but a water infrastructure bill that the Committee cleared last September included a $20-billion, five-year authorization for the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund (SRF) program, although it went no further in the 116th Congress.  Representative Grace Napolitano (D-Norwalk), who chairs the Committee's Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee, also previewed her plans to soon introduce legislation to reauthorize the SRF program.
  • On Wednesday, the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works held a hearing entitled, “Building Back Better: Investing in Transportation while Addressing Climate Change, Improving Equity, and Fostering Economic Growth and Innovation.”  During the hearing, Committee Chairman Tom Carper (D-Delaware) praised the Environment and Public Works Committee’s legacy of bipartisanship, citing the Committee’s work on S. 2302, America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act of 2019, as an example of a collaborative path forward. Ranking Member Shelley Capito (R-West Virginia) supported Senator Carper and stated that she was encouraged by preliminary conversations with President Biden, Vice President Harris, and Secretary Pete Buttigieg of the Department of Transportation on the next economic stimulus package.  However, Ranking Member Capito cautioned that bipartisan support for infrastructure legislation would not extend to “a multi-trillion-dollar package stocked full with ideologically driven, one-size-fits-all policies that tie the hands of states and communities.”