Wednesday: House looks to pass water projects bill

After general debate on the bill, members will consider the 24 amendments that were made in order by the House Rules Committee on Tuesday.

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The House seems prepared to finish work on the huge bill on Wednesday — GOP leaders said the last votes of the night are expected as late as 9 or 10 p.m.

Work on the bill is being squeezed into a single day so that dozens of members can fly to Florida on Thursday morning to attend the funeral of Rep. Bill Young (R-Fla.). Those plans led GOP leaders to cancel plans for floor work on Thursday.

The water bill has many facets — it authorizes billions of dollars in water projects and seeks to streamline their approval, but it also deauthorizes $12 billion work of projects.

But one aspect that will gain some attention is a provision related to the Olmsted Locks and Dam Project on the lower Ohio River.

Last week, Congress approved language attached to the debt-ceiling bill allowing up to $2.9 billion to be spent on this restoration project, a $1.2 billion increase.

Language in this week's water resources bill includes language that would change the revenue sharing formula for this project. Under current law, the Olmsted project is to be paid half from general Treasury funds, and half from a waterways trust fund.

But the bill up this week would allow 75 percent of the project to be paid from the general Treasury. A Senate-passed bill calls for 100 percent funding from Treasury, and this issue will likely have to be resolved in a House-Senate conference.