Senators unveil bipartisan water infrastructure bill

Senators unveil bipartisan water infrastructure bill
© Greg Nash

A bipartisan group of senators unveiled a water resources and infrastructure bill on Tuesday that aims to localize the budget for the Army Corps of Engineers.

Sen. John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoOvernight Energy: House to vote on anti-carbon tax measure | Dem says EPA obstructed 'politically charged' FOIA requests | GOP looks to overhaul endangered species law Western lawmakers introduce bills to amend Endangered Species Act GOP senators introduce resolution endorsing ICE MORE (R-Wyo.), chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, introduced the America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 along with Sen. Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperNew EPA chief draws sharp contrast to Pruitt Overnight Energy: New EPA head looks to reassure staff | New round of ex-Pruitt staffers leave | House votes to overhaul fisheries law | Trump rips Germany for pipeline deal with Russia Dems grasp for way to stop Trump's Supreme Court pick MORE (Del.), the panel's top Democrat.

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“This bipartisan legislation answers the president’s call. Projects included in the bill would make a positive impact in Wyoming by increasing water storage; protecting communities from dangerous ice jam floods; and by upgrading old water systems,” Barrasso said in a statement. “Let’s use this opportunity to pass major water infrastructure legislation that will help keep our nation prosperous.”

Sen. James InhofeJames (Jim) Mountain InhofeNew EPA chief draws sharp contrast to Pruitt Senate takes symbolic shot at Trump tariffs Senate moves to start negotiations on defense policy bill MORE (R-Okla.), chairman of the panel's Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee, and subcommittee ranking member Sen. Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinSenate passes resolution honoring victims of Capital Gazette shooting Biden rallies Dem support for progressive Md. governor candidate Dem lawmakers join nationwide protests against Trump immigration policies MORE (D-Md.) also signed on to the legislation, which works to ensure clean drinking water across the country. 

“Clean water is not a partisan issue and I have been proud to work with my colleagues to develop legislation that will benefit water resources and infrastructure nationwide,” Cardin said in a statement. “Congress has a responsibility as a strong partner with states and localities to repair our nation’s hidden water infrastructure and open waterways.”

The water infrastructure legislation, which Congress re-ups every two years, was one of several bills Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanGOP leaders jockey for affection of House conservatives Five GOP lawmakers mulling bid to lead conservative caucus On The Money — Sponsored by Prudential — Trump walks back criticism of UK Brexit strategy | McConnell worries US in 'early stages' of trade war | US trade deficit with China hits new record MORE (R-Wis.) mentioned in March when he said Congress would pursue an infrastructure overhaul in five or six pieces of legislation.

The Senate bill specifically calls upon the National Academy of Sciences to produce reports evaluating how the Army Corps of Engineers can improve transparency to work with local governments, stakeholders and Congress.

The unveiling of the bill comes ahead of a Wednesday morning hearing in front of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee that will focus on its water legislation.

It also comes a week after the House Appropriations Committee introduced a $44.7 billion budget for energy and water resources in fiscal 2019.