Your Congress in Action: Vol. 13

09/16/2020 8:19 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team


Your Congress in Action is a 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.

  • Discussions on further pandemic relief packages have continued to stall. The President has called for congressional Republicans to support an economic relief bill with higher numbers than previously proposed and stimulus checks for Americans. More information on the latest in the pandemic relief talks is available from the Washington Post.
  • Treasury Secretary Mnuchin and Speaker Pelosi have publicly committed to passing a “clean” continuing resolution that will fund the federal government until sometime after the election, therefore avoiding a government shutdown on October 1. More information is in the Washington post here.
  • While the legal fights against the updated NEPA regulations continue, a Virginia court ruled that conservation groups hadn’t met the legal bar for a preliminary injunction that would shelve the updated regulations while their legal challenge against it proceeds. This ruling is likely to be appealed, and more information is available from Bloomberg Law. This legal challenge is among several being considered by the courts and thus is not considered to be the final ruling.

    Please continue to let us know what you are seeing in the field. This includes when you see agencies using the revised NEPA regulations or recent Executive Orders to waive preservation requirements on projects on which you work, or even projects you hear about.

  • The US Army Corps of Engineers is planning to re-issue their nationwide permits according to a notice in the Federal Register. ACRA and its partners at the Coalition for American Heritage are working to analyze the changes and put together comments for submittal.
  • REMINDER: ACRA has created resources to help you take action for historic preservation in your state as state budgets are considered this fall. Many states are facing budgets cuts due to decreased tax revenue, and both SHPO offices and infrastructure projects could be affected as a result. Because the budget discussions in each state vary widely, the best place to start is to meet with your state's SHPO and/or state archaeologist. ACRA has compiled a list of resources to make requesting and holding these meetings as fast as possible, including a sample meeting request and a list of suggested questions. If you are having trouble finding the contact information for your SHPO or state archaeologist, let us know and we can easily provide that for you.

    Once you have a clear picture of the historic preservation budget discussions in your state, you can reach out to your state legislators to tell them about the importance of this funding to both businesses and the larger community. If you do hold a meeting with your SHPO or state archaeologist, please submit a brief summary of the meeting in this report back form.

  • Representatives Will Hurd (R-TX) and Filemon Vela (D-TX) introduced a bill to make a three-room adobe schoolhouse in southwestern Texas into National Historic Site. Because of de facto segregation in Texas, the school was the only educational facility for Mexican-Americans in the state for 50 years. The National Parks Conservation Association has already endorsed the bill.
  • Representative Bobby Rush (D-IL) introduced a bill, REFUSE Confederate Principles Act, would direct the Secretary of the Interior to establish a grant program to provide funds for the removal of Confederate symbols.
  • The Coalition for American Heritage is conducting a survey of current candidates for federal office to identify where they stand on our biggest issues. Please encourage candidates in your district to answer the survey (found here), and you can see the results from those that have already completed it on the Coalition website.

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