House panel approves water infrastructure bill

House panel approves water infrastructure bill
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The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on Wednesday approved its bipartisan water infrastructure bill, sending it for a floor vote in the lower chamber.

The biennial bill, which provides the Army Corps of Engineers with the authorization to maintain the nation’s water infrastructure, is expected to receive a vote the first week of June.

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“I think we’re moving in the right direction,” committee Chairman Bill ShusterWilliam (Bill) Franklin ShusterHouse and Senate negotiators reach agreement on water infrastructure bill Congress, states and cities are not doing enough today to fix our infrastructure It’s high time for a discussion on infrastructure MORE (R-Pa.) said of the legislation during its Wednesday markup.

“We are demonstrating that WRDA works. This is infrastructure that strengthens our global competitiveness, grows the economy and creates jobs,” he added.

The Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2018 includes multiple de-authorizations of idle infrastructure programs to offset the cost of newly authorized projects. 

Shuster, committee ranking member Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), and Reps. Grace Napolitano (D-Calif.) and Garret Graves (R-La.), introduced the legislation last week. Graves serves as the chairman of the panel's Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee, while Napolitano serves as the subcommittee’s ranking member.

Under the legislation, the corps is able to address the country’s dams, ports and flood resistance efforts.

But this reauthorization also requests an analysis of the effects of moving the corps’s civil work out of the Defense Department and either to a new entity or into another agency.

The bill’s passage through the House panel comes one day after the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee unanimously approved its own bipartisan water infrastructure bill.

The Senate bill requires the National Academy of Sciences to produce reports assessing how the corps could expand transparency to work with Congress, local governments and stakeholders. It also includes a drinking water pilot program for Indian tribes.