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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

Membership

Legislature Adjourns: Update on Key Business and Education Policies

6/1/21
PUBLICATION NOTE: The Partnership will publish a comprehensive report on the 87th Legislative Session by June 15. In the meantime, please enjoy the final installment of our weekly update. Final Week In Review: End of the 87th Session In the final days of the 87th Legislative Session, an important school accountability bill gained agreement from both chambers, while a key economic development program did not pass. Just before midnight on Sunday, most Democratic Representatives departed from the floor and broke the House's quorum. Their absence prevented a final vote on Senate Bill 7. Governor Greg Abbott responded with a call for a special session. The Governor has the exclusive power to call the Legislature into special session and to determine what issues will be on the agenda. The Governor has not announced the timing of a special session or what issues the Legislature may consider. A special session was planned for this fall to consider redistricting, when data would be available from the U.S. Census Bureau. It is unclear if Governor Abbott will add issues to a special session that includes redistricting or if he will call a separate special session. Budget Sent to Governor Abbott The House and Senate approved the 2022-2023 biennial state budget for Governor Abbott's signature. The bill spends $116 billion in General Revenue and $248 billion over the two-year period. Public education reforms under House Bill 3 remain fully funded. Higher education funding also received an increase for enrollment growth. Funding for transportation and other budget areas remains largely flat from the current year. The Economic Stabilization Fund, also known as the Rainy Day Fund, is estimated to reach $11 billion, and it was not utilized to fund the new budget. As a result of actions taken by the House in the final hours of session, Governor Abbott threatened to line-item veto the budget article that funds the legislative branch. School Accountability Reforms Pass On the final day of the legislative session, the House and Senate approved Senate Bill 1365 by Senator Paul Bettencourt (R-Houston). The bill ensures the continuation of the state's accountability system and enhances intervention and sanction measures for perennially failing campuses and public school districts. Key provisions of the legislation include the clarification of the investigative authority of the Commissioner of Education and the Commissioner's ability to issue sanctions, appoint a board of managers, and provide intervention support services. The bill clarifies the definition of a D-rated campus as it relates to potential sanctions or intervention measures. A rating of D is now considered unacceptable performance under the accountability system. Finally, the legislation allows for all public school districts and charter schools not to be held accountable for campus and district ratings during the 2021-22 school year due to the pandemic's extreme impact on students' learning loss. Campuses and school districts will still be rated on the A-F accountability scale, but sanctions and interventions required under this law for multiple years of failure will not go into effect until the 2022-23 school year. The bill is now on Governor Abbott's desk, and we anticipate his final approval soon. Chapter 313 Fails to Pass After failing to meet a parliamentary deadline, House Bill 4242 by Representative Morgan Meyer (R-Dallas) which would have provided a two-year extension for the Chapter 313 economic development incentive program stalled in the Senate. The Chapter 313 program will expire on December 31, 2022. The short-term extension was the final effort to keep the program intact after a failed attempt earlier in the session to pass legislation that would have made broad reforms to the program.  COVID Business Liability Protections Pass Senate Bill 6, by Senator Kelly Hancock (R-North Richland Hills), heads to the Governor for his signature. The bill enacts a Partnership legislative priority, and one of Governor Abbott's emergency items, of providing legal liability protections related to the pandemic. The bill provides full defense against lawsuits for businesses, health care institutions, governmental entities, schools and higher education facilities acting in good faith and within posted government safety protocols from those who contract a disease during a pandemic. We expect Governor Abbott to sign this measure into law. Sign-up to receive Legislative and other Public Policy updates directly to your inbox.
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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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