Conservative group key votes against water bill

The conservative group Heritage Action announced Monday that it will punish lawmakers on its annual scorecard if they vote in favor of an $8.2 billion water infrastructure bill coming to the House floor this week.

Heritage said the bipartisan deal announced last week on the Water Resources Reform and Development Act does not do enough to cut spending on ports, levees, beaches and rivers. 

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The compromise bill was hammered by House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Schuster (R-Pa.) and Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), after months of negotiations.

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Heritage said the bill was flawed because it does not cancel a fraction of the Army Corps of Engineers's $60 billion to $80 billion backlog, does not shield the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund from being abused and does not prioritize future Corps activities enough.

“Broadly, it hikes spending while doing little to reduce bureaucracy and limit the role of the federal government,” spokesman Dan Holler said.

Because Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) can count on Democratic support for the bill, it is expected to pass despite defections linked to Heritage Action opposition.