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 BarrassoLatest Trump proposal on endangered species could limit future habitat, critics say Republicans dismiss Trump proposal to delay election Barrasso nuclear bill latest GOP effort to boost uranium mining MORE (R-Wyo.) and committee ranking member Sen. Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperNot a pretty picture: Money laundering and America's art market OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Trump's pitch to Maine lobstermen falls flat | White House pushed to release documents on projects expedited due to coronavirus | Trump faces another challenge to rewrite of bedrock environmental law NEPA White House pushed to release documents on projects expedited due to coronavirus MORE (D-Del.), along with House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Rep. Bill ShusterWilliam (Bill) Franklin ShusterLobbying firm cuts ties to Trent Lott amid national anti-racism protests Ex-Rep. Frelinghuysen joins law and lobby firm Ex-Rep. Duffy to join lobbying firm BGR MORE (R-Pa.) and Ranking Member Peter DeFazioPeter Anthony DeFazioOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Trump's pitch to Maine lobstermen falls flat | White House pushed to release documents on projects expedited due to coronavirus | Trump faces another challenge to rewrite of bedrock environmental law NEPA White House pushed to release documents on projects expedited due to coronavirus House Dems introduce bill to require masks on planes and in airports 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 TrumpDeWine tests negative for coronavirus a second time Several GOP lawmakers express concern over Trump executive orders Beirut aftermath poses test for US aid to frustrating ally 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.