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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 addressing the most pressing issues facing the business community and the Houston region. We invite you to join us in advancing these solutions to strengthen the region’s long-term growth and provide opportunity for all. Together, we make Houston greater.

Executive Priorities

The Partnership has set priorities on energy and the coastal barrier.

Additional focus areas include transportation, economic development, flood mitigation, international trade and more.

Energy & Energy Transition

As the Energy Capital of the World, the Partnership and its member companies pursue federal policies investing in Houston’s position in leading the global energy transition and creating high-quality, high-growth job. Through leveraging members’ expertise, the Partnership works with lawmakers to advance the region’s energy competitiveness and secure Houston’s position as a leader in the global energy transition.

Recently, the Partnership launched the Houston Energy Transition Initiative (HETI). Through this initiative, the Partnership embraces the dual challenge of the energy transition by meeting growing global demand for energy wile lowering emissions. There is tremendous business opportunity in addressing the dual challenge through developing and scaling technologies, creating, and servicing markets for the global energy mix, and investing in energy priorities.

 

The Partnership is committed to bringing this message to Congress and working with lawmakers to utilize Houston’s leadership and advance our energy competitiveness.

Wind Turbines in Texas

Coastal Barrier

The 2022 Water Resources and Development Act (WRDA) provides opportunities to advance the region’s infrastructure through navigation, flood damage reduction, and ecosystem restoration projects. The Partnership supports congressional authorization and funding for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) Coastal Texas Study, which includes the development of a coastal barrier. The Corps completed a signed Chief’s Report on the Coastal Texas Study in September, advancing eligibility for congressional authorization and funding. 

The Partnership supports the efforts between the congressional delegation, the Corps, and the non-federal sponsors – the Texas General Land Office and the Gulf Coast Protection District (GCPD) – to move this project forward. In WRDA 2022, we support congressional authorization for new construction of the projects in the Coastal Texas Study. We request continuing contract authority so that the Corps can draw down a predictable amount of federal funds, particularly for the mission- critical gate system. We urge consideration of waiving the GCPD’s interest accrual on Sabine to Galveston projects until November 1, 2025. A pause on interest accrual will help the GCPD deliver the project with the strongest benefits to the region and taxpayers. 

Preventative infrastructure projects, like the Coastal Barrier, can help mitigate the devastation from a catastrophic storm surge and save tens of billions of dollars in disaster recovery funding by protecting vulnerable communities. The coastal barrier is also an investment in our national economic security. The Houston region is home to one of the largest concentrations of refining and petrochemical complexes in the world, and a storm’s direct hit to the unprotected ship channel would have devastating economic consequences across our nation.

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Priority Issues
Meet the Greater Houston Region's Federal Delegation

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

Partnership Urges Advancement of Coastal Spine Project for a More Resilient Houston

10/6/22
In late September, the Greater Houston Partnership, in collaboration with the Gulf Coast Protection District (GCPD), coordinated a trip to Washington D.C., to educate on the importance of the Coastal Texas Protection and Restoration project. The Coastal Spine – a barrier flood gate and levee system located along the upper Texas coastline, was recommended by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to shield Port Houston, the Houston Ship Channel, and surrounding petrochemical producers from catastrophic weather events.   The Coastal Spine is designed to protect the critical infrastructure along our coastline that supports supply chains across the globe. The greater Houston region is home to the largest petrochemical producers in the world. These products range from gasoline for our vehicles to semiconductors to everyday products, including food and drink packaging, appliances, and electronics, hardware, construction materials, pharmaceuticals, fertilizers, and automotive parts and tires. Many products that travel through Port Houston, which serves as the number one U.S. port in waterborne tonnage, provide more than $800 billion in national economic value.     The project will also safeguard the more than 7.2 million residents of the metro Houston area from severe weather events. In September 2008, Kemah, Texas, saw a 17-foot surge from Hurricane Ike. A similar system is used in the Netherlands to keep encroaching ocean waters from intruding upon critical infrastructure and human life. In this instance, we are targeting the devastating effects of storm surges.    Delegation members in attendance:  State Senator Larry Taylor  Mayor Michel Bechtel  Mayor Carl Joiner  Galveston City Council Member Marie Robb  Bob Mitchell  Sally Bakko  GCPD Executive Director Nicole Sunstrum  Phillip Fordham with LyondellBasell  Partnership Public Policy team members  The delegation engaged with staff from the offices of Senators Cornyn and Cruz and staff from Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi, who sits on the Senate Appropriations Committee. The group met all four Texas appropriators: Ranking Member Kay Granger, Congressman Henry Cuellar, Congressman Judge Carter, and Congressman Tony Gonzales.     During the short visit, the delegation also connected with several trade associations, including the American Petroleum Institute, the American Chemistry Council, the National Association of Manufacturers, and the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers.     With the Partnership’s help, Texas will secure support from all levels of government to realize the Coastal Texas Program, to protect the lives, economy, and national security assets, all supported by Port Houston and the Houston Ship Channel. Learn more about the Partnership's agenda for the 88th Texas Legislative session. 
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Living In Houston

Fighting for a More Flood Resilient Houston Region

8/22/22
Houston is a region of great opportunity, but combatting major challenges remains key to the metro area’s continued growth and prosperity.  On August 25, 2017 – five years ago this month – Hurricane Harvey made landfall just south of Houston. As the destructive storm slowly trekked north, it brought with it devastating rainfall and revealed our region’s vulnerability to flooding.  Fortunately, the exposure to flooding did not go unnoticed as all levels of government, federal, state, and local came together to provide relief and offer preventative solutions that would help alleviate future flood events. And the Partnership supported these multilevel efforts, working hand-in-hand to offer guidance and prospective solutions.  This post does not do justice to the many prospective, ongoing, and completed mitigation projects that have and will fortify our region from excessive flooding for decades. But we hope to shine some light on the progress made.  At the Federal level, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has received a large appropriation from Congress for the new Community Development Block Grant Mitigation (CDBG-MIT) grant opportunity, which would lead to billions of dollars for the Houston region for flood mitigation projects. This particular funding was developed specifically for use around preventative measures to combat future severe weather events and not in response to any previous natural disasters. While these projects have yet to be undertaken, they will certainly provide necessary relief, particularly working in conjunction with state and local funds.  The State of Texas worked to realize the Flood Infrastructure Fund (FIF), which is a nearly $800 million fund that the state legislature appropriated following its creation via constitutional referendum. The fund has supported efforts to mitigate flooding and will work in concert with the state flood map as well as federal funding to protect property and life from devastating natural disasters. For example, the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) approved $10 million to widen and deepen Taylor Gully, which is a project that both the City of Houston as well as Harris County collaborated on to increase water conveyance and take more than 400 homes out of the flood zone. Locally, Harris County worked – with the Partnership as a supporter – to secure the 2018 Harris County Flood Control District’s $2.5 billion bond program, which has initiated the construction of necessary mitigation measures against severe weather events. The funding includes $1.2 billion to improve channel conveyance, $400 million to build stormwater detention basins, $242 million to acquire land in the floodplain, among other priorities. In fact, not only have these funds been used as a match for federal Army Corps mitigation projects, but they have also been used successfully to stabilize the Spring Branch Creek in the Buffalo Bayou watershed.  In a show of force at every level of government, one mega project, the Coastal Barrier – or Ike Dike – is on the verge of being authorized by Congress. The Partnership is advocating alongside federal, state, and local elected officials for this massive preventative infrastructure project, which will help mitigate crippling flooding from catastrophic storm surges and save tens of billions of dollars in disaster recovery funding by protecting vulnerable communities. The barrier will also safeguard the Houston Ship Channel, which is an economic engine helping to, quite literally, power the nation through nearly 250 million tons of cargo – more than $800 billion in annual economic activity – over three million jobs and supplying approximately 60 percent of the nation’s jet fuel as well as 30 percent of the nation’s gasoline.  While Southeast Texas – like many coastal communities – does flood, especially following a 100-year storm or severe weather event, the Houston region has collectively worked to expand investment in flood mitigation to prevent these lasting and reoccurring effects from major storm events. Together can we achieve the necessary measures to protect human life and economic vitality from the increasingly present and disabling effects of climate change induced flooding.    Flood mitigation is part of the Partnership's agenda for the 88th Texas Legislative session. 
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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
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tlandin@houston.org
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713-844-3624
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