Shuster uses whiteboard to explain water bill

ADVERTISEMENT
Shuster is scheduled to hold a press conference on Wednesday afternoon to unveil the House's version new WRRDA bill as Congress attempts to pass a water bill for the first time in six years.

The Senate has already begun moving its own version of the water resources bill, though Shuster and other Republicans have argued that the upper chamber’s plan gives too much authority to the Obama administration to select projects for investment.

The WRRDA bill only contains the authorization for expenditures on waterways, so the funding itself would have to be approved by the congressional Appropriations committees. However, Democrats have argued that someone other than Congress would likely have to select the specific projects to receive investments because lawmakers doing so themselves could be read as a violation of the House's ban on earmarks.

Shuster did not reveal how he plans to deal with the earmark ban in his video.

Instead, he made the case that it was important to invest in ports and waterways.

“Our ports and waterways are essential to our way of life,” he said. “So essential, we sometimes take them for granted. Did you know that 99 percent of the goods we create, sell, and import and ship around the world go through our nation’s bustling seaports? That’s about $1.4 trillion worth of goods every year.”

Rather than focus on the mechanism from identifying projects, Shuster focused on the reforms to the regulatory process he said would be achieved by passing a new WRRDA bill.

“Our critical infrastructure is aging, and the process for updating it is slow, costly and filled with red tape,” he said in the video. “Something needs to be done. Congress hasn’t passed a water bill in 6 years. As a result, our country is losing its competitive advantage.

“We are literally studying our infrastructure to death,” he continued. “With strong reforms, we can shorten the review time to three years, and that’s exactly what this bill does.  It also puts a cap on how much we can spend on these studies. In short, it reviews the way our government does business.” 

Shuster concluded that there were multiple reasons that it was time for Congress to pass a WRRDA bill for the first time since 2008.

“I urge you to support strong water infrastructure not just because it’s critical to trade or because it keeps prices low, but because it keeps the United States competitive, strong and creates the jobs we need,” he said. 

Watch the full Shuster video below: