Washington DC Update—January 2021

Scott Berry, Director of Policy and Government Affairs, US Water Alliance | January 27, 2021

Washington looks very different at the end of January than it did at the end of 2020. There is much still to be accomplished, but this time of transition provides a unique opportunity to advance One Water policies. With a pair of wins in Georgia, Senators Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock flipped control of the Senate to the Democrats. The Senate is now divided 50-50, with Vice President Kamala Harris serving as the tie-breaking vote. This power change has myriad impacts on future legislation and rulemaking under the new Biden Administration.  | More >

Coffee and a Conversation with Benny Starr, Inaugural One Water Artist-in-Residence

Benny Starr and Sara Allen, US Water Alliance | January 27, 2021
In October 2020, Benny Starr, a Hip-Hop artist and activist from the Black Rural South, joined the US Water Alliance as our inaugural Artist-in-Residence. Benny has spent his career pushing the boundaries of creativity and challenging systems of racism and inequality through music. 
Benny recently sat down for a virtual coffee with Sara Allen, US Water Alliance Membership and Development Associate. Read on for an abbreviated version of their conversation on arts, water, and social movements.

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Washington DC Update—December 2020

Scott Berry, Director of Policy and Government Affairs, US Water Alliance | December 18, 2020

There’s much still left to be addressed in Congress, not the least of which is the impending end to government funding, which runs out midnight Friday, December 11. The House and Senate passed a one-week continuing resolution on December 9, which pushes the government funding deadline to Friday, December 18. However, it will still be a tight turnaround for a massive spending package. An alternative would be to kick the can into 2020 by passing another continuing resolution before the 18th that extends funding into early next year. Regardless of which way Congress decides to go, it is critically important to avoid a government shutdown which would be disastrous for millions of Americans are struggling due to a nine-months-and-counting global pandemic.  | More >

EPA at 50

Scott Berry, Director of Policy and Government Affairs, US Water Alliance | December 12, 2020

This month marks the EPA’s 50th anniversary. That anniversary happens to intersect with a new Congress that is about to be sworn in, a new presidential administration, a public health crisis, recession, and rapidly increasingly climate challenges. In short, it is a moment to reflect on the accomplishments of the EPA over the past half century and look forward to what we want the next 50 years to be. | More >

Washington DC Update—November 2020

Scott Berry, Director of Policy and Government Affairs, US Water Alliance | November 18, 2020

President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris made history this month in more ways than one, securing their win with the highest number of votes ever for a Presidential ticket. In addition to winning the presidency, the Democrats maintained control of the House, despite losing seats in key battleground states. But, while there remains a path for Democrats to gain control of the Senate with the two run-off elections in Georgia, it will certainly be a very uphill battle. Taking office with a divided government will certainly present its own roadblocks. | More >

Washington DC Update—October 2020

Scott Berry, Director of Policy and Government Affairs, US Water Alliance | October 27, 2020

Here in the District, Congress remains in a stalemate over a potential stimulus bill and any shift before the election next week looks very unlikely. While House Speaker Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Mnuchin continue negotiations, any prospect of a deal is overshadowed by Republican opposition in the Senate. As Speaker Pelosi and Mnuchin have worked towards a $2 trillion bill, Senate Majority Leader McConnell has urged the White House against agreeing to any deal before November 3rd. While not much has substantially changed in Congress since last month, the middle of October brought an unexpected Executive Order from the President on Modernizing America’s Water Resource Management and Water Infrastructure. The purported goal of the EO is to improve coordination and promote integrated planning among federal agencies. The EO also recognizes the need for workforce development in the water sector and calls for the recruitment, training, and retention of water sector professionals. | More >

Your Imagine a Day Without Water Agenda

Katie Henderson, Senior Program Manager, US Water Alliance | October 21, 2020

Whether this is the first time you’ve participated in Imagine a Day Without Water or your sixth, this is a year like no other! It’s not just that this years Imagine a Day is totally digital—this year has also urgently reminded us how critical safe and reliable water is to protecting public health. 

With so much going on that demands our attention, taking a whole day to think about water or take action to advocate for water can seem daunting. But the Value of Water Campaign is here to help: follow this plan for an inspiring day of action! | More >

Washington DC Update—September 2020

Scott Berry, Director of Policy and Government Affairs, US Water Alliance | September 29, 2020

While the climate has monumentally shifted in DC since our last update due to the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the ensuing fight to fill that seat, much of the policy considerations remain in similar positions. Democrats and Republicans have not made any further progress in a deal on the next round of COVID-19 relief. Democrats, feeling pressure from some House members, have released a new $2.2 trillion relief package. This new version of the HEROES Act merges new priorities for small businesses, airline workers, and education with much of the content from the $3.5 trillion version of the HEROES Act passed by the House in May. White House and Senate Republicans haven’t moved from their position of a $1.5 trillion topline number so this new package, if taken up and passed in the House, is also dead on arrival in the Senate. With the new fault lines around the Supreme Court seat looking to deepen over the next month, and the existing ones from the approaching election not getting better, it’s hard to see a clear path forward for a relief package before the election. | More >

Providing Water and Sanitation Access to Unhoused Populations during the COVID-19 and Beyond: Guidance for Water and Wastewater Utilities

Zoë Roller, Senior Program Manager, US Water Alliance | September 28, 2020

Unhoused populations are vulnerable to a range of public risks, including COVID-19. They lack continuous access to running water, toilets, showers, and laundry, making it extremely difficult to take proper precautions. Homeless individuals are at high risk of health conditions including hepatitis, HIV, and tuberculosis. The Department of Housing and Urban Development estimates that there are approximately 560,000 people experiencing homelessness in the US, including over 100,000 minors. These numbers may rise alongside rapidly increasing unemployment. Many Americans are at risk of losing their homes in the absence of sweeping policies to prevent eviction and foreclosure. Providing water and sanitation access to unhoused populations is a key preventative measure to protect their health and wellbeing. | More >

Announcing the Launch of the Water Equity Network

Gina Wammock, Senior Fellow, US Water Alliance | September 21, 2020

The Water Equity Network is a nationwide community of practice where cities can share best practices—including COVID-19 response strategies—in real time, engage in cross-city coaching and mentoring, and advance equitable water management. Network members will have an opportunity to build trusting relationships with diverse local partners to tackle water equity issues, and they’ll engage with other city teams facing similar issues to share ideas and solutions.  | More >