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Trump poised to sign bipartisan water infrastructure bill

Trump poised to sign bipartisan water infrastructure bill
© Greg Nash

President TrumpDonald TrumpNYT: Rep. Perry played role in alleged Trump plan to oust acting AG Arizona GOP censures top state Republicans McCain, Flake and Ducey Biden and UK prime minister discuss NATO, multilateralism during call MORE is poised to sign a bipartisan water infrastructure bill after it passed the Senate 99-1 this week. 

America’s Water Infrastructure Act, the most comprehensive infrastructure legislation passed this Congress, will authorize over $6 billion in federal spending on ports, harbors and waterways.

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It will also deauthorize spending on water projects that have been deemed inefficient.

Sen. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeOvernight Defense: Austin takes helm at Pentagon | COVID-19 briefing part of Day 1 agenda | Outrage over images of National Guard troops in parking garage Austin sworn in as nation's first Black Pentagon chief The Hill's 12:30 Report: Next steps in the Trump impeachment MORE (R-Utah) cast the only "no" vote on the bill.

“President Trump called on Congress to take action on the country’s water infrastructure and we have done that today,” Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Biden EPA asks Justice Dept. to pause defense of Trump-era rules | Company appeals rejection of Pebble Mine | Energy pick Granholm to get hearing Wednesday Nomination hearing for Biden Energy pick Granholm set for Wednesday Trump impeachment article being sent to Senate Monday MORE (R-Wyo.) said in a statement on Wednesday.

The bill authorizes billions of dollars for an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) fund that provides money to improve drinking water infrastructure at the state level. It also extends a federal program aimed at improving the drinking water in Flint, Mich.

“This legislation invests in the critical water infrastructure we don’t see every day, but that American families in every state rely on, such as drinking water systems, dams, reservoirs, levees, and ports," Environment and Public Works Committee ranking member Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperSenators vet Mayorkas to take lead at DHS Senate majority offers Biden new avenues on Trump environmental rollbacks OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Senate majority offers Biden new avenues on Trump environmental rollbacks | Democrats eye action on range of climate bills | Biden pushing to cancel Keystone XL pipeline as soon as he takes office: reports MORE (D-Del.) said in a statement. "When it comes to local infrastructure projects, it ensures the voices of our country’s local governments are being heard by the federal government to ensure needs are being met and taxpayer dollars are being used efficiently.”

The legislation further addresses the water needs of marginalized communities by requiring each regional EPA office to tap at least one employee as the point person for minority, tribal and low-income communities.

It also includes a provision that requires the government to prioritize low-income communities for lead testing programs. 

The chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, Sen. John HoevenJohn Henry HoevenMcConnell about to school Trump on political power for the last time Senate GOP opposition grows to objecting to Electoral College results Man charged with criminal mischief for allegedly vandalizing senator's office with ax MORE (R-N.D.), released a statement lauding the act for its provisions seeking to enhance water infrastructure in tribal communities.

He pointed out that the legislation authorizes funding for water projects on tribal land and directs the secretary of the Army to investigate whether Native American tribes have been displaced by the construction of certain dams in Oregon.

The act also includes billions of dollars in de-authorizations toward the aim of being "fiscally responsible."

The bill authorizes funds but does not appropriate them.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellBiden leans on Obama-era appointees on climate Kentucky Republican committee rejects resolution urging McConnell to condemn Trump impeachment Calls grow for 9/11-style panel to probe Capitol attack MORE (R-Ky.) tweeted on Wednesday that America’s Water Infrastructure Act is "a major step toward meeting the challenge of improving our nation’s infrastructure."

"From dams, levees, and flood control to safer drinking water and sewage systems, this legislation meets all sorts of pressing needs," he wrote.