Western Caucus Members Voice Their Support for WRDA

f t # e
Washington, July 29, 2020 | Doug Levine (202-225-2315) | comments

Today, members of the Western Caucus released the following statements after the House of Representatives passed the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA).  

“Today proves that Congress is still capable of going through a thorough and bi-partisan committee process to create a good piece of legislation. Water infrastructure is incredibly important for our economy, national security, and public health. The Water Resources Development Act makes important investments in our nation’s ports, inland waterways that are used to transport goods around the country, and flood mitigation infrastructure to protect vulnerable communities. I am particularly pleased to see the investments this legislation makes in Rural America and also the fact that the cost of the bill is offset by deauthorizing projects that are no longer necessary,” said Congressional Western Caucus Chairman Paul Gosar (AZ-04). 

“We have too much water in some areas that don’t need it — like inside of our homes.  Meanwhile, there is not enough water in other regions out west.  This bill advances solutions to both problems,” said Vice Chairman for Oceans and Ocean Energy Garret Graves (LA-06).

“The 2020 Water Resources Development Act is a bipartisan, commonsense bill that works for America. Water resources tend to be out of sight and out of mind, but that’s exactly why WRDA is so important. When severe flooding hit my home state of Arkansas last year, the historic rains breached many of our levees and devastated our water infrastructure, destroying homes and farmland. We also need legislation like WRDA on a national level to shore up our infrastructure, address the maintenance backlog in our ports and harbors and increase rural flood protection. As the ranking member of the Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee, I’m honored to have spent the past year and a half working on this legislation with my colleagues. I hope to see it quickly signed into law," said Vice Chairman for Infrastructure and Forestry Bruce Westerman (AR-04). 

"Water infrastructure like ports and waterways are critical to the rural communities of Central Washington. From transportation of agricultural goods to irrigation and flood control, the Water Resources Development Act ensures U.S. Army Corps water infrastructure – which our local economies rely upon – remains up-to-date and operating efficiently. While I am proud to see this legislation pass with broad bipartisan support, we cannot forget the important role Bureau of Reclamation projects play in our way-of-life across the West. I look forward to working with my colleagues to continue to urge the consideration of legislation to rebuild aging BOR infrastructure that is so desperately needed," said Vice Chairman for the Departments of Energy and Interior Congressman Dan Newhouse (WA-04). 

"Today's bill is the culmination of hard work by Members of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on both sides of the aisle. It shows that Congress is still capable of putting politics aside and conducting its business on behalf of the American people. Alaska's 33,904 miles of shoreline dwarf the Lower 48, and with fewer miles of paved road than Rhode Island, Alaska's rivers, highways, and ports are the lifeblood of our state's communities. These simple facts make WRDA especially important for Alaska. The Army Corps is an integral partner for our communities' ability to manage significant project demand with limited resources. In Alaska, where infrastructure needs continue to outpace demand, I am encouraged by the progress we were able to make in this WRDA bill with provisions that recognize the uniqueness of Alaska. As many know, one of my mottos is 'Alaska to the future.' Looking ahead, as the only Arctic state in the Union, Alaska will play the central role in hosting future Arctic infrastructure projects. I will continue advocating on behalf of this critical Arctic infrastructure, both in the coming conference process and in future WRDA bills, and I look forward to sending a bill to the President's desk that will strengthen our nation's water resources for decades to come," said Vice Chairman for Indian Affairs and Fisheries Don Young (AK-AL). 

“As the Representative of an area where countless jobs and industries rely heavily on the health of the Great Lakes and the functionality of critical water infrastructure, I am pleased by the House’s passage of this bipartisan legislation. Since even before arriving in Congress, I have been committed to protecting Lake Superior, so I was proud to help move forward legislation that will ensure its vitality and provide local communities with the tools to restore water infrastructure. Today’s passage is a huge win for Minnesota, and I look forward to its swift passage in the Senate," said Congressman Pete Stauber (MN-08). 

“The Big First district of Kansas is one of the largest agricultural producing districts in the country, and well-maintained ports and waterways are critical to quickly and efficiently getting those goods and products to market,” said U.S. Congressman Roger Marshall, M.D. “This important bipartisan legislation guarantees that our ports and waterways are operational, providing certainty to producers in Kansas and across the country that they can get their products to consumers around the world. It also authorizes the Army Corps of Engineers to conduct necessary flood prevention and mitigation efforts to protect our communities, homes, and businesses from future disasters. I applaud passage of this vital bill,” said Congressman Roger Marshall, M.D. (KS-01). 

“Modernizing and improving our water infrastructure is one of my top priorities in Congress, so I am pleased to have had the opportunity to work on creating a 2020 WRDA bill that is good for Southeast Texas, and good for the country. This bill contains a number of provisions that I authored – alongside colleagues from both sides of the aisle – that will make great progress on efforts to dredge, widen, and improve two-way traffic on the Houston Ship Channel, enhance flood prevention infrastructure, ensure that Southeast Texas remains the global leader in creating reliable and affordable energy, and address the critical needs of our nation’s crumbling infrastructure. I look forward to seeing the many successes that will come from the passage of this bill, and I support the President signing it into law,” said Congressman Brian Babin (TX-36). 

“America’s water infrastructure facilitates domestic commerce, various recreational activities, and promotes robust international trade, all of which provide high paying jobs. WRDA 2020 is integral in improving this infrastructure by authorizing various projects throughout the country, including several in my home state of Texas. These civil works projects are meaningful investments in our communities to effectively manager water resources, such as the Lake Lewisville Dam in Texas’s 26th Congressional District. These projects may be initiated based on local needs, but have much wider impacts on the region and nation,” said Congressman Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (TX-26). 

“There’s a lot to be happy about in the WRDA that passed today. Included in the bill were funds for the Army Corps of Engineers to make upgrades on the Tulsa-West Tulsa Levee System. Last year, a flood decimated parts of Tulsa. Had the aging levees failed, the devastation would have been much worse. It’s been 12 years since the levees were rated ‘unacceptable’ and at ‘very high risk’ of failure. Updates are long overdue, but it’s great to see those funds included in this bill. Also included in the WRDA are funds to clear the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System (MKARNS) from silt deposits as a result of the 2019 floods, and other updates and security measures for MKARNS. Our waterways are important in Oklahoma, and I’m glad to see much-needed funding allocated to Oklahoma projects with the WRDA,” said Congressman Kevin Hern (OK-01). 

“America’s waterways have always been an essential resource for moving critical commodities across the nation but are often exposed to corrosion as well as extreme weather. The Water Resources Development Act is vital at maintaining our nation’s water infrastructure and allows for the continual upkeep of America’s rivers, streams, and ports,” said Congressman Rick Crawford (AR-01). 

“The 2019 floods ravaged farmland, destroyed essential infrastructure like highways, water treatment plants, and levees that had withstood the test of time for decades. Though there is still work ahead of us, this legislation is a big step toward addressing these issues and improving flood prevention. This legislation supports ongoing local rebuilding efforts and has the potential to save towns in rural America who have previously fallen through the cracks,” said Congressman Adrian Smith (NE-03). 

“The Water Resources Development Act is an excellent example of what can happen when Congress works in a bipartisan fashion. WRDA authorized projects and investments are critical for public safety, economic growth, and the preservation of our environmental resources. Our nation’s system of levees, dams, ports, and water infrastructure protect hundreds of communities, support millions of American jobs and generate trillions of dollars of economic activity. This legislation will have a positive impact on our community and I look forward to its implementation,” said Congressman Doug Lamborn (CO-05). 

“Kentucky’s river industry has a value of over $10 billion, and our waterways infrastructure is critical to growing the economy and supporting industries ranging from agriculture to outdoor recreation,” Congressman James Comer said. “The 2020 Water Resources Development Act will provide an important boost to our waterways infrastructure and assist the economic well-being of Kentucky’s 1st District. I look forward to the Conference Committee resolving outstanding issues to ensure this important legislation can become law,” said Congressman James Comer (KY-01).

“Our harbors and water infrastructure have outsized importance in American Samoa, where they are absolutely essential to our livelihood and supplies, and Pago Pago Harbor has lasting strategic value,” said Delegate Aumua Amata Radewagen (AS-AL).

Background 

The Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) was passed by the House of Representatives by voice vote. The bill authorizes water infrastructure projects under the supervision of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. 

The text of the legislation can be seen HERE.

A fact sheet on this legislation can be seen HERE.  

f t # e
Tags: Water

Stay Connected

Use the form below to sign up for my newsletter and get the latest news and updates directly to your inbox.