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117th Congress Federal Priorities

A thriving business environment that fosters economic development is critical to making Houston greater. In order to advance the Houston region, the Greater Houston Partnership supports policies that create a business environment attractive to leading global companies and skilled talent. During the 117th Congress, the Partnership will focus on this impact agenda that addresses the most pressing issues facing the business community and the Houston region. We invite you to join us in advancing these solutions and other measures to strengthen the region’s long-term growth and provide opportunity for all. Together, we make Houston greater.

Executive Priorities

The Partnership has established a series of priorities going into this Congress focused around energy, COVID-19 response and the Houston Ship Channel. Additional focused issue areas include transportation, economic development, flood mitigation, international trade and more. 

Energy & Energy Transition

The Partnership is dedicated to strengthening the region’s position as the Energy Capital of the World through supporting prudent and sound policies and energy infrastructure investments necessary for the region to lead the global energy transition and accommodate global energy demand growth.

Through leveraging members’ experience and expertise, the Partnership is in a strong position to advance policies to support the region’s natural gas and oil industry and workforce, and work to transition to a more efficient and more sustainable low carbon future.

COVID-19 Response & Relief

The Partnership supports continued response and relief packages to enable our communities to address and recover from the impacts of the pandemic, including funding for hospitals, public health authorities and community health clinics. These resources face significant funding gaps due to COVID-19 disruptions and require federal support to provide adequate testing and large-scale vaccine distribution.

Additionally, the Partnership supports extending personal injury liability protections for employers and businesses who make reasonable efforts to follow COVID-19 public health guidelines, and for front-line health workers and hospitals working under pandemic conditions. 

Houston Ship Channel Expansion

The Partnership supports the widening and deepening of the Houston Ship Channel to provide safe and efficient transit for each vessel traversing the busiest deep-draft trade waterway in the nation. With the project included in WRDA passed by Congress at the end of 2020, we are committed to working collaboratively with the federal government, Port of Houston Authority, and private industry to ensure the completion of the project.

Meet the Greater Houston Region's Federal Delegation

Want to learn more about what's outlined in this impact agenda?

Taylor Landin, the Partnership's Senior Vice President and Chief Policy Officer shares insights the policy issues outlined in the Partnership's federal impact agenda, which focuses on addresses the most pressing issues facing the business community and the Houston region.

Issues

Regional Resiliency & Flood Mitigation

The Partnership supports significant investment in infrastructure designed to protect both our economy and our people from future severe weather events. Recent major flooding events revealed the billions in needed investments in the Houston region’s flood mitigation and storm surge infrastructure. We will continue to support policies that improve resiliency and fund infrastructure needs for flood mitigation and storm surge protection.

Transportation

The Partnership supports maintaining and enhancing existing funding opportunities and meeting the region’s transportation needs. Given the interdependency of our regional, national, and international markets, maximizing the region’s economic prosperity depends on efficiently moving goods and people throughout the region.

International Trade & Investment

The Partnership supports free and fair international trade through accountable trade and investment agreements. The Houston region is a global logistics hub where 17% of the economy and 330,000 jobs are directly tied to exports. Supporting open international trade and international investment agreements helps to create jobs in the region while securing a strong and diverse economy.

Immigration

As America’s most diverse city, Houston’s foreign-born population plays a significant role in driving our region forward. The Partnership supports immigration reforms that meet the needs of greater Houston’s business community and the region as a whole. It is important to address immigration issues that have a disproportionate impact on our area to ensure talent is available to meet the needs of our companies.

Education & Workforce

The Partnership supports federal investment in the Houston region’s higher education institutions to ensure the current and future workforce meets the needs of the economy and accesses rewarding careers. The Partnership plays a leading role in improving regional coordination and alignment between industry, the public workforce system, public schools, higher education institutions and community-based organizations to produce the talent for a 21st century economy. The Partnership also supports policies to increase access to reliable and affordable broadband connectivity, which is essential for every individual’s education, employment, healthcare, and participation in the economy.  

Economic Development

The Partnership supports policies, programs, and investments which encourage inclusive economic development in the greater Houston region and across its major industry sectors, including energy, life sciences, manufacturing and logistics, commercial aerospace and aviation, and digital technology. Economic development initiatives help to maintain a diverse local economy, while creating and retaining jobs, and improving the quality of life of greater Houston.  

Convening to Make an Impact

The Partnership's impact work happens through Committees, which convene business and community leaders to fuel the growth and vitality of the Houston region. 

Public Policy Updates

Related News

Public Policy

Key Outcomes of the 87th Texas Legislative Session

7/5/21
The Greater Houston Partnership is the region's primary business advocate and works on behalf of and alongside our 900 member companies to advance policy that supports continued economic growth across Texas. At the conclusion of the 87th Legislative Session formally the Greater Houston Partnership released a summary of outcomes from the organization's impact agenda for the 2021 session. In advance of this session, the Partnership’s Board of Directors and Public Policy Steering Committee worked to develop a legislative agenda that addresses the most pressing issues facing the business community and the greater Houston region – these being broadly categorized as access and energy competitiveness. Key wins were passed in both of these priority areas this session, with bills signed into law that:  Advance equitable access to public education, digital connectivity and health care Create a landscape that positions the Houston region to lead the development of carbon capture, use, and storage (CCUS), a key step in advancing the global energy transition Address business community priorities including workforce development, legal liability protections, transportation infrastructure and economic development Despite the challenges presented throughout the 2021 session including the ongoing pandemic and Winter Storm Uri, the Partnership successfully advanced important legislation that supports continued economic growth across Texas.  We hope this overview of outcomes gives you insight to key policy issues facing the greater Houston region and thank you for your ongoing support and engagement in our work.  View the full report. Learn more about the Partnership's public policy work. 
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Public Policy

87th Legislative Summary: Transportation, Infrastructure and Business Issues

7/1/21
With the end of the 87th Texas Legislative Session, the Partnership produced a summary report on its legislative priorities. This post focuses on outcomes related to priorities of Houston's business community including transportation, infrastructure, economic development and legal liability protections.  Coastal Barrier Senate Bill 1160 - PASSED INTO LAW Senate Author: Senator Larry Taylor (R-Galveston) House Sponsor: Representative Dennis Paul (R-Houston) Highlights:  Creates the Gulf Coast Protection District for the coastal barrier project, enhancing protection for the greater Houston area and the Texas economy from the devastating effects of hurricanes and storm surges The Partnership supports the construction of a coastal barrier to protect the Houston region from hurricanes and storm surge. At the federal level, we anticipate that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will release a Chief's Report this summer, after which Congress can authorize and fund the project. To receive federal funding, the state is required to designate a local sponsoring entity.  SB 1160 creates the local sponsoring entity - the Gulf Coast Protection District - for the coastal barrier project. The district will have the authority to issue bonds, impose fees and taxes not to exceed legislative limits, and exercise eminent domain to facilitate the construction of the project that would protect the Houston area and Texas economy from the effects of hurricanes and storm surges.  +++   Transportation Budget Senate Bill 1 - PASSED INTO LAW Senate Author: Senator Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound) House Sponsor: Representative Greg Bonnen (R-League City) SB 1, includes a 2.9 percent decrease, from $31.1 billion last session to $30.2 billion this biennium. This does not threaten or delay the state's commitment to the State Highway Fund, serving transportation needs, and TxDOT's reductions primarily reflect the loss of one-time funding sources. +++ Chapter 313 House Bill 1556 - FAILED TO PASS House Author: Representative Jim Murphy (R-Houston) Senate Sponsor: None   House Bill 4242 - FAILED TO PASS House Author: Representative Morgan Meyer (R-Dallas) Senate Sponsor: Senator Brian Birdwell (R-Granbury) In 2001 the Texas Legislature and Governor Rick Perry worked to establish a new economic development program designed to attract capital-intensive businesses, high-paying jobs and expand the property tax base. The program would offset Texas' high business property tax rates relative to other states by offering a 10-year limited abatement to school property taxes, which often comprise 50percent of a local property tax bill. The program came to be known as Chapter 313, after the section of the tax code where it is located. It specifically targeted the manufacturing, R&D, power generation, computer centers and renewable power business sectors. Qualifying businesses received an abatement of their local school district maintenance and operation property taxes, while continuing to pay all other property and sales taxes. After the 10-year abatement period, the facility rolled onto the local tax rolls at the full rate. The program was reauthorized and reformed in 2013, adding additional reporting requirements and oversight by the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts. Qualification requirements were further strengthened to target those projects which otherwise would not have located in Texas. Through September of 2020, Comptroller reports estimated the program brought over $200 billion in capital investment and 56,000 direct and indirect jobs to Texas, including nearly 100 separate manufacturing projects in the Houston region. With the program set to expire on December 31, 2022, HB 4242 proposed a simple 2-year reauthorization with no changes to the program, so the Legislature could better study the issue in the interim.  The Partnership worked with a statewide coalition, known as Keep Texas First, consisting of other chambers of commerce, businesses and economic development organizations to coordinate the reauthorization effort. Ultimately, all reauthorization legislation failed to pass.  Chapter 313 is scheduled to expire at the end of 2022. Without Chapter 313, Texas will have the fourth highest business property taxes in the nation for large, capital-intensive projects, putting our state at a severe disadvantage for recruiting new companies. The Keep Texas First coalition is already coordinating ways to work with the Legislature to restore our economic competitiveness until a more permanent solution can be found. +++ Legal Liability Protections Senate Bill 6 - PASSED INTO LAW Senate Author: Senator Kelly Hancock (R-North Richland Hills) House Sponsor: Representative Jeff Leach (R-Plano) Highlights:  Offers statewide liability protection for businesses, education institutions, health care facilities and government offices complying with posted government safety protocols, extending beyond COVID-19 to all pandemics  The COVID-19 pandemic exposed businesses to a quickly-changing set of regulations and recommendations from government and health care entities. Companies, particularly small businesses with limited resources, faced the very real prospect of being sued for not properly protecting employees or customers from contracting COVID-19, even if the companies were acting in good faith.  SB 6 provides explicit statewide liability protection for businesses, education institutions, health care facilities and government offices operating in good faith and in compliance with all posted government safety protocols. The bill extends beyond COVID-19 to all pandemics. Efforts to enact nationwide liability protections remain ongoing in Congress, and the Partnership continues to work with our Texas delegation to achieve that outcome. See the full 87th Legislative Session summary report. 
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Become a Member Today

Interested in joining the Partnership? Take the next step and learn how you can make an impact on Houston.

Get in touch with our team to:

  • Learn more about the Partnership's policy priorities
  • Get involved in a policy committee and meet industry peers 
  • Help shape the Partnership's policy initiatives
Taylor Landin
Senior Vice President and Chief Policy Officer
Public Policy
E
tlandin@houston.org
P
713-844-3624
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Partnership Staff