This week the U.S. Congress passed two spending packages for fiscal year 2020, clearing the legislation for the President's expected signature. The appropriations agreement funds several programs that benefit the building safety industry and which the International Code Council supported through engagement with lawmakers.
These provisions include:
- A $100 million increase to $3.4 billion total for the Community Development Block Grant Program, which funds code adoption and enforcement activities at the state and local levels.
- A $167 million increase in funding for the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The Institute's Science and Technical Research and Services received a $29.5 million boost over current levels. NIST's disaster resilience grants were preserved and current funding levels will allow NIST's premise plumbing research to continue.
- An $80 million increase in FEMA preparedness grants to $2.9 billion, including a $35 million increase to $560 million for the State Homeland Security Grant Program and a $5 million increase to $355 million for the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program, Staffing for Adequate Fire & Emergency Response Grant Program, and Emergency Management Performance Grant Program, respectively.
- A $20 million increase to $1.26 billion for Perkins career and technical education state grants.
- A $1.6 million increase to $4.5 million for WaterSense, which the International Green Construction Code leverages and which is supported by both the International Accreditation Service and ICC Evaluation Service products.
- A $3 million increase to $10 million for the Department of Energy's Building Energy Codes Program, which supports the development and implementation of the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC).
The appropriations legislation also extends from December 31, 2017, to December 31, 2020, the 45L tax credit for new homes that are 50% more efficient than the 2006 IECC and, over the same period, the 179D tax deduction for efficiency improvements to commercial buildings.
We look forward to continuing to work with the federal government, our members and our partners to aid in efforts to improve building safety and resilience.