Federal Relations Update

November 16, 2012

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November 16, 2012

NLC Pressures Congress to Avert Sequestration
Carolyn Coleman, coleman@nlc.org, 202.626.3023

With less than six weeks to go before more than $100 billion in automatic spending cuts to federal defense and non-defense programs start taking effect, pressure on Congress and the Administration to find other options for reducing the federal deficit continues with a wide range of diverse groups who will be hit hard by the cuts intensifying their lobbying campaigns in Washington.

In a letter to House and Senate leadership, while acknowledging the need to address the federal fiscal challenges and the tough choices that will have to be made, NLC urged Congress to avert the automatic spending cuts, also known as sequestration, due to the harm it would cause to local communities.

The automatic spending cuts are the product of a deal between Congress and the President and were intended as such a painful alternative that Congress would find other ways to reduce the deficit by $1.2 trillion or over $100 billion a year over the next 10 years. So far, Congress hasn't found another way, which leaves the cuts, half from defense programs and half from non-defense programs, set to start on January 2, 2013. Among the non-defense programs that would be cut are the Community Development Program, job training and education programs, housing vouchers, TIGER, water infrastructure, transit, and COPS.

With the deadline looming and the elections over, congressional leaders and the White House have returned to work and are finally beginning negotiations to find alternatives to sequestration to reduce the deficit.

For more information about sequestration and how your city can partner with NLC to help convince Congress to avert it, visit www.nlc.org/influence-federal-policy/advocacy/sequestration.





Immigration Reform Emerges as Key Issue on Capitol Hill
Leslie Wollack, wollack@nlc.org, 202.626.3029

After languishing on Capitol Hill for several years, the results of the presidential election and the large turnout of Latino voters have helped renew the push for the passage of comprehensive immigration reform legislation. Members of Congress and the Administration are voicing optimism that an agreement could be reached as soon as early next year.

At a press conference held in Washington on Wednesday, President Obama responded to questions on the issue, expressing confidence that a solution could be found and noting that immigration reform has traditionally been a bipartisan issue. Senator John McCain (R-AZ), who spearheaded bipartisan immigration reform in 2006, has also said that he thinks it is likely that the Senate will find a comprehensive solution, and Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), has called immigration the “civil rights reform issue of our time.” Menendez called on the business community to join in and push for reform.

NLC will continue to work with its coalition of state and local government organizations, as well as members of both parties on Capitol Hill to promote reform and push for comprehensive legislation. Click here to view NLC’s policy on immigration reform.



NLC Policy and Advocacy Committee Resources Available Online
Emma Lieberth, lieberth@nlc.org, 202.626.3075

Policy and Advocacy Committees play a key role in all NLC advocacy efforts: they work to develop National Municipal Policy positions, which form the basis of the organization's advocacy on matters of interest to municipal governments before Congress, the courts, and federal agencies.

Current Committee Members: Policy books for your meetings at the Congress of Cities and Exposition in Boston are now available on your committee’s webpage under the “Meetings and Events” tab. If you are planning to attend, please be sure to print your book ahead of time, as copies will not be available on-site.

Potential Committee Members: Local officials from NLC member cities across the country are encouraged to apply to serve on the policy steering committee. For those interested in serving, the online application deadline has been extended to Friday, December 7.



EPA Sets New Timeframe for Stormwater Rulemaking
Carolyn Berndt, berndt@nlc.org, 202.626.3101

Earlier this month, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) laid out its timeframe for completing a Proposed National Rulemaking to Strengthen the Stormwater Program. The Agency intends to propose a rule to establish a program to reduce stormwater discharges from newly-developed and redeveloped sites and to make other regulatory changes to its stormwater program by June 10, 2013. A final rule is anticipated by December 10, 2014.

At a briefing last week for local government organizations, EPA presented its current thinking about the proposed rule, which is largely similar to what the agency was considering in 2010 prior to the rulemaking being put on hold temporarily.

The key focus of the proposed rule is to establish a retention-based performance standard to reduce pollutants from stormwater runoff. EPA is considering applying this standard to all types of projects, including residential, commercial, industrial, and institutional. The standard could apply “nationwide,” with different size thresholds depending on whether the site is inside or outside of the municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4s) area. EPA is also considering a number of flexibilities for the rule, including delayed implementation to allow time for local governments to update codes and ordinances.

In addition to the performance standards, EPA is considering expanding the MS4 program area, requiring large regulated municipalities to establish retrofit requirements, and designating government-owned maintenance yards as industrial sources, which would subject them to the stormwater regulations.

NLC continues to monitor the rulemaking process and will keep you posted as more specific details become available.



NLC Urges Electronic Delivery of Drinking Water Reports
Carolyn Berndt, berndt@nlc.org, 202.626.3101

Last month, NLC sent a letter to the EPA regarding its draft Consumer Confidence Report (CCR): Electronic Delivery Options and Considerations urging the agency to allow a “flexible approach, including use of electronic delivery options, for reporting information about the source and quality of drinking water to consumers when there is no violation of drinking water standards.”

The purpose of the CCR rule is to raise customers' awareness of where their drinking water comes from, the quality of their drinking water, what it takes to deliver water to their home and the importance of protecting drinking water sources. EPA’s draft report, published in September, evaluates several electronic delivery methods to determine which forms meet existing CCR Rule requirements.

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In This Issue

NLC Pressures Congress to Avert Sequestration

Immigration Reform Emerges as Key Issue on Capitol Hill

NLC Policy and Advocacy Committee Resources Available Online

EPA Sets New Timeframe for Stormwater Rulemaking

NLC Urges Electronic Delivery of Drinking Water Reports



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