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 BarrassoDems slam EPA plan for fighting drinking water contaminants Overnight Energy: Zinke joins Trump-tied lobbying firm | Senators highlight threat from invasive species | Top Republican calls for Green New Deal vote in House Senators highlight threat from invasive species MORE (R-Wyo.) and committee ranking member Sen. Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperDems slam EPA plan for fighting drinking water contaminants EPA to announce PFAS chemical regulation plans by end of year Overnight Energy: Zinke joins Trump-tied lobbying firm | Senators highlight threat from invasive species | Top Republican calls for Green New Deal vote in House MORE (D-Del.), along with House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Rep. Bill ShusterWilliam (Bill) Franklin ShusterLobbying world Crowley, Shuster moving to K Street Exiting lawmakers jockey for K Street perch MORE (R-Pa.) and Ranking Member Peter DeFazioPeter Anthony DeFazioThis is your captain speaking: We can’t allow another government shutdown Aviation groups push bill that would fund FAA during shutdown With highway funding in decline, mileage-based fees offer a solution 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 nominates Jeffrey Rosen to replace Rosenstein at DOJ McCabe says ‘it’s possible’ Trump is a Russian asset McCabe: Trump ‘undermining the role of law enforcement’ 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.