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of highway construction programs to pay for the $200 million in federal fund- ing. For example, the plan proposes decreasing federal spending on projects of local or regional significance and would count money cut from existing programs (and redirected towards new projects) as part of the $200 billion total investment in infrastructure. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao has said that the administra- tion’s plan will go beyond traditional infrastructure categories like highways, transit, rail, waterways and ports to also include energy, water, broadband and veterans’ hospitals—all good things for the U.S. economy and, most, for the travel and tourism industry. Courier: How will Congress respond? Signal Group: We think Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, who chairs the Senate appropriations transportation subcommittee, summed it up perfectly: “The president’s budget request is always subject to significant revision by Congress, and this budget will be no exception. Throughout my time in the Senate, I have never seen a presi- dent’s budget make it through Congress unchanged.” The reaction on the Hill has not been supportive to date, and we’re reminded of an old adage: “The president pro- poses, and Congress disposes.” Courier: What are the next steps in the process? Signal Group: Now that the president has released his request, the focus shifts to Congress. Think of the pro- posed budget as a starting point for the entire process. Congress has begun holding hearings, meeting with stake- holders and examining the proposed budget to come up with their own legis- lation. This is done through 12 separate appropriations bills, each generated by a specific subcommittee covering indi- vidual federal agencies or groupings of agencies. This process works in identical fashion in both the House and Senate. In recent years, few of the appropria- tions bills have been passed as stand- alone bills. The process generally has led to the House passing a number of bills that await Senate action, and as time expires, Congress enacts a series of continuing resolutions. CRs are short-term spending bills that typically maintain funding levels at the previous year’s levels. Once the legislators are ready to negotiate and finalize details on long-term funding, Congress then lumps appropriation bills together into an omnibus package. But with a Sept. 30 deadline for the FY18 bills, Congress has little time to act on this process, let alone pass 12 separate appropriations bills. There’s still much uncertainty sur- rounding the timing of what will hap- pen with funding, but it’s sure to be a wild ride. Signal Group is a Washington, D.C., lobbying firm retained by NTA to advise members about travel-related issues and legislation. NTA members save up to 34%* on UPS ® shipping services The National Tour Association is proud to bring you valuable discounts on the products and services you need. Make the most out of your membership and take advantage of competitive rates available on UPS shipping services. Whether you need your documents or packages to arrive the next day or are looking for an affordable shipping option, UPS understands the importance of speed, reliability, and cost. To save on your UPS shipments, simply: Call: 1-800-MEMBERS (1-800-636-2377) M-F, 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. EST Visit: *See for specific services and discounts. All discounts apply to the effective UPS Standard List Rates at the time of shipment and shall be applied on a weekly basis, unless otherwise specified. UPS, the UPS brandmark and the color brown are trademarks of United Parcel Service of America, Inc. and are used with the permission of the owner. All rights reserved. Official NTA Corporate Partner 11