Heritage: House water bill 'unworthy of conservative support''

Supporters of the water bill have argued that it would improve shipping and create jobs. Republican leaders in the House have sought to win support from conservative lawmakers by pointing out that the bill does not include earmarks like previous versions of the water legislation.

But Heritage Action said on Wednesday that the bill would still result in too much federal spending on ports and waterways.

“While the bill does not contain earmarks, it does require ‘congressional authorization of project studies and construction instead of ceding this authority to the Corps,’ ” the group wrote.  “There is a very real concern, however, that the statutory criteria are too weak.  Additionally, complications could arise from the Corps’s pro-construction bias, lawmakers’ eagerness to approve projects, and their response when non-federal entities in their districts complain about not receiving construction authorization.”

The water bill has been touted as a rare bipartisan measure, and it is widely expected to pass on Wednesday.

Heritage Action predicted the measure would be made worse in an eventual conference committee with Senate leaders.

“Rarely is conservative policy advanced in conference committees, and there is little reason to expect things will change this time around, as Senate conferees will fight to increase spending and weaken already insufficient reforms,” the group wrote.