Senators unveil bipartisan water infrastructure bill

Senators unveil bipartisan water infrastructure bill
© Greg Nash

A bipartisan group of senators unveiled a water resources and infrastructure bill on Tuesday that aims to localize the budget for the Army Corps of Engineers.

Sen. John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoGreen groups raise alarms about alleged Pentagon incineration of 'forever chemicals' House passes sweeping bill to target spread of toxic 'forever chemicals' Democrats, greens blast Trump rollback of major environmental law MORE (R-Wyo.), chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, introduced the America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 along with Sen. Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperDemocrats ask if US citizens were detained at border checkpoints due to Iranian national origin Democrats, greens blast Trump rollback of major environmental law EPA employees push 'bill of rights' to protect scientific integrity MORE (Del.), the panel's top Democrat.

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“This bipartisan legislation answers the president’s call. Projects included in the bill would make a positive impact in Wyoming by increasing water storage; protecting communities from dangerous ice jam floods; and by upgrading old water systems,” Barrasso said in a statement. “Let’s use this opportunity to pass major water infrastructure legislation that will help keep our nation prosperous.”

Sen. James InhofeJames (Jim) Mountain InhofeSenators take oath for impeachment trial Trump, Democrats set for brawl on Iran war powers Senators see off-ramp from Iran tensions after Trump remarks MORE (R-Okla.), chairman of the panel's Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee, and subcommittee ranking member Sen. Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinNew Parnas evidence escalates impeachment witnesses fight Pressure building on Pelosi over articles of impeachment Senate confirms Trump pick for small business chief MORE (D-Md.) also signed on to the legislation, which works to ensure clean drinking water across the country. 

“Clean water is not a partisan issue and I have been proud to work with my colleagues to develop legislation that will benefit water resources and infrastructure nationwide,” Cardin said in a statement. “Congress has a responsibility as a strong partner with states and localities to repair our nation’s hidden water infrastructure and open waterways.”

The water infrastructure legislation, which Congress re-ups every two years, was one of several bills Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanEsper's chief of staff to depart at end of January Latinos say they didn't benefit from Trump tax cuts — here's why Conservative commentator rips Trump's signature tax overhaul: 'It was a big mistake' MORE (R-Wis.) mentioned in March when he said Congress would pursue an infrastructure overhaul in five or six pieces of legislation.

The Senate bill specifically calls upon the National Academy of Sciences to produce reports evaluating how the Army Corps of Engineers can improve transparency to work with local governments, stakeholders and Congress.

The unveiling of the bill comes ahead of a Wednesday morning hearing in front of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee that will focus on its water legislation.

It also comes a week after the House Appropriations Committee introduced a $44.7 billion budget for energy and water resources in fiscal 2019.