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 BarrassoOvernight Energy: Gillibrand offers bill to ban pesticide from school lunches | Interior secretary met tribal lawyer tied to Zinke casino dispute | Critics say EPA rule could reintroduce asbestos use GOP senator issues stark warning to Republicans on health care Judd Gregg: In praise of Mike Enzi MORE (R-Wyo.) and committee ranking member Sen. Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperOnly four Dem senators have endorsed 2020 candidates Koch network launches ad campaign opposing Trump's proposed gas tax Big Dem names show little interest in Senate MORE (D-Del.), along with House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Rep. Bill ShusterWilliam (Bill) Franklin ShusterEx-GOP congressman heads to investment bank Former GOP chairman Royce joins lobbying shop Lobbying world MORE (R-Pa.) and Ranking Member Peter DeFazioPeter Anthony DeFazioCongress: Pass legislation that invests in America's water future Not-So-Fat Cats: Over 25 million lower income workers will be paying the Wall Street Tax Airports push lawmakers to raise passenger fees 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 TrumpImpeachment? Not so fast without missing element of criminal intent Feds say marijuana ties could prevent immigrants from getting US citizenship Trump approval drops to 2019 low after Mueller report's release: poll 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.