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House and Senate negotiators reach agreement on water infrastructure bill

House and Senate negotiators reach agreement on water infrastructure bill
© Anna Moneymaker

Senate and House lawmakers on Monday night reached an agreement on a bipartisan water infrastructure bill that will reauthorize billions of dollars in federal spending on ports, harbors, and waterways as well as deauthorize inefficient spending on water projects. 

Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works Sen. John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoWhy grizzly bear hunting season isn’t happening Trump poised to sign bipartisan water infrastructure bill Dems to force health care vote weeks before Nov. midterms MORE (R-Wyo.) and committee ranking member Sen. Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperOvernight Energy: Trump administration doubles down on climate skepticism | Suspended EPA health official hits back | Military bases could host coal, gas exports Trump poised to sign bipartisan water infrastructure bill Overnight Health Care — Presented by the Coalition for Affordable Prescription Drugs — Senators face Wednesday vote on Trump health plans rule | Trump officials plan downtime for ObamaCare website | Lawmakers push for action on reducing maternal deaths MORE (D-Del.), along with House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Rep. Bill ShusterWilliam (Bill) Franklin ShusterHouse and Senate negotiators reach agreement on water infrastructure bill Congress, states and cities are not doing enough today to fix our infrastructure It’s high time for a discussion on infrastructure MORE (R-Pa.) and Ranking Member Peter DeFazioPeter Anthony DeFazioTrump more involved in blocking FBI HQ sale than initially thought: Dems Trump makes new overtures to Democrats Dems eye ambitious agenda if House flips MORE (D-Ore.), on Monday announced agreement on America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018. 

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Barrasso in a press release encouraged Congress to pass the bipartisan legislation and send it to President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump to fundraise for 3 Republicans running for open seats: report Trump to nominate former Monsanto exec to top Interior position White House aides hadn’t heard of Trump's new tax cut: report MORE's desk for his signature.

The water infrastructure bill requires re-authorization every two years.

"I’m glad members of both the Senate and House were able to find areas of agreement and reach a compromise on a major water infrastructure bill that ... invests in critical infrastructure like our country’s ports and waterways, and expands our investments in drinking water for the first time in more than two decades," Carper said in a statement.

The 2018 version of the bill authorizes $4.4 million in funds for a safe drinking water program, Drinking Water State Revolving funds, which was last authorized 22 years ago. 

The bill would also help reduce flooding risks for rural, western and coastal communities, according to the press release, an issue made more pressing in light of Hurricane Florence, the impending Category 4 hurricane set to hit the East Coast on Thursday or Friday. 

"The bill will help coastal communities prepare for the growing risks of climate change and help communities across America invest in local water infrastructure needs," Carper said. 

The bill calls seeks to address water infrastructure needs in Native American tribal communities with a drinking water pilot program in certain regions.

The agreed-upon bill also includes billions of dollars in deauthorizations towards the aim of being "fiscally responsible," the press release states.

"This bipartisan legislation will authorize water infrastructure projects developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which will strengthen our coastal communities, help keep us competitive in the world economy, and restore our coastal environment,” DeFazio said. “These critical water infrastructure projects will improve our Nation’s ports, harbors, and waterways, and create and sustain thousands of good-paying American jobs." 

This story was updated on Oct. 9th at 12:24 p.m.