House easily advances water resources bill

The bill is the last to be considered in a shortened week that has been filled with bipartisan legislation and bipartisan votes. The legislation authorizes $8 billion worth of water projects, and de-authorizes billions of dollars worth of past projects, something that Republicans said shows good stewardship of public funds.

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Both Republicans and Democrats praised the bill as one that would help create jobs around the country. GOP members stressed that the bill includes language aimed at speeding up the process for approving these projects.

"It sets hard deadlines on the time and cost of the studies, it consolidates or eliminates duplicative studies, it requires concurrent project review by multiple agencies, and it puts our projects on a path to construction," Rep. Daniel Webster (R-Fla.) said.

Several Democrats they would support the bill as well, although many had reservations about the idea of streamlining the environmental review process for these projects. Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) said these reviews are not slowing down project approvals, and that Republican budget cuts were much more of a factor.

"It is lack of money, not environmental reviews, that are causing the delays," he said.

Even as they indicated support for the bill, a few Democrats called on members to vote against the rule, since it does not make in order dozens of amendments proposed by Democrats.

"This kind of rule is not conducive to an open process," Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.) said.