Senate OKs 'nice little water bill' — hold the ISIS

The Senate on Monday evening passed a bill to provide developing countries access to clean drinking water, which almost became a vehicle for a declaration of war earlier this month.

The Paul Simon Water for the World Act of 2014, sponsored by Sens. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinOvernight Energy: Trump ends talks with California on car emissions | Dems face tough vote on Green New Deal | Climate PAC backing Inslee in possible 2020 run Dems face tough vote on Green New Deal Durbin: Trump pressuring acting AG in Cohen probe is 'no surprise' MORE (D-Ill.) and Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerSasse’s jabs at Trump spark talk of primary challenger RNC votes to give Trump 'undivided support' ahead of 2020 Sen. Risch has unique chance to guide Trump on foreign policy MORE (R-Tenn.), would improve access to clean water and sanitation around the world.

“Inadequate access to safe water and sanitation services sickens and kills thousands of children every day, and leads to poverty across the globe,” Durbin said in a joint statement.

ADVERTISEMENT

“But this is no longer simply a global health and development issue — it’s a long-term problem that increasingly threatens our national security. The Senate agreed unanimously and passed this legislation today and I hope the President will quickly sign it before the crisis reaches a devastating tipping point.”

In a meeting of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump escalates fight with NY Times The 10 GOP senators who may break with Trump on emergency On unilateral executive action, Mitch McConnell was right — in 2014 MORE (R-Ky.) tried to attach a resolution declaring war against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) to the bill in an attempt to get it passed before Congress recessed for the year. Senators from both parties have voiced frustration about the lack of military authorization against ISIS.

"It was the most bizarre meeting of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that I have ever attended in my life or ever expected to attend," said committee member Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainMellman: Where are good faith and integrity? GOP senator says Republicans didn't control Senate when they held majority Pence met with silence after mentioning Trump in Munich speech MORE (R-Ariz.) afterward.

"A water bill. A nice little water bill, uncontroversial,” McCain said of the Dec. 4 hearing. “An obscure water bill! I mean, you can't make that up! Where in that little book on how the laws are made does it say water bill, get a declaration of war? It's ludicrous. It's a living, breathing argument against lame-duck sessions."

Paul's attempt failed, and the committee passed the bill, which was approved by the full Senate late Monday. It now heads to the president's desk for signature.

“I'm pleased lawmakers from both chambers agree that investing in water can make the most of existing foreign aid resources. These programs bring life-saving water and sanitation to vulnerable people around the globe, helping to support improved health and stability in these communities,” Corker said.

According to the statement, nearly 750 million people around the world lack access to clean, safe water, and nearly 2.5 billion people lack access to basic sanitation, many living on $2 a day.