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House Clears Shuster's Water Resources Development Act

Washington, DC – The U.S. House of Representatives today overwhelmingly approved the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2018 (H.R. 8), bipartisan legislation that provides for improvements to the Nation’s ports, inland waterways, locks, dams, flood protection, ecosystem restoration, and other water resources infrastructure that is essential to economic growth and American competitiveness.  The bill passed by a vote of 408 to 2.

The legislation authorizes proposed U.S. Army Corps of Engineers civil works activities and provides reforms to the Corps.  The bill was introduced by Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA), Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Ranking Member Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee Chairman Garret Graves (R-LA), and Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee Ranking Member Grace Napolitano (D-CA).

Today’s approval marks the third Water Resources Development Act approved by the House under Chairman Shuster’s leadership of Transportation and Infrastructure, and follows the transparent process established under his 2014 bill (the Water Resources Reform and Development Act) that has led to a return to regular order and biennial consideration of this critical infrastructure legislation in Congress. 

“WRDA Works, and we need to ensure that WRDA continues to work for the American people,” said Chairman Shuster.  “WRDA works because these are investments in the type of infrastructure that is vital to every American and every part of the country.  The health of this infrastructure directly impacts how efficiently the things we buy get onto store shelves, how quickly the goods we produce get to markets around the world, how competitive our businesses and farmers are, and how effectively our communities are protected from floods.  I look forward to working with the Senate to send a final WRDA measure to the president that builds our water infrastructure, grows our economy, and creates jobs.”

“Today’s passage of the Water Resources Development Act of 2018 is a win for our Nation’s coastal communities and those located on inland waterways,” said Ranking Member DeFazio. "With that said, I am extremely disappointed that the bill does not include a bipartisan provision that would have ensured that funds collected in the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (HMTF) are used only for harbor maintenance—not for unrelated government spending.  Unlocking the HMTF is key to ensuring we’re not just adding to the $100 billion dollar backlog of projects at the Corps of Engineers, but are actually using existing funds to make real investments in our Nation’s ports, harbors and waterways.  Despite the removal of my HMTF provision, I support this legislation because of the many other provisions which will improve safety, sustain jobs, and provide improvements to projects undertaken by the Army Corps.”

“This bill is about giving taxpayers their money’s worth when it comes to water resource projects.  Americans deserve to live in resilient communities – in places that are protected against hurricanes, severe rains and flooding.  They deserve competitive navigation channels capable of reliably moving goods across the nation and beyond.  They deserve a healthy ecosystems and accountable government.” said Chairman Graves.  “This bill moves forward in transparency, in efficiency while respecting the environment, it allows projects to be expedited, it gives more flexibility for the Corps and its state and local government partners to work together to deliver these projects.” 

“I thank Chairman Shuster, Ranking Member DeFazio, and Chairman Graves for their work on this WRDA,” said Ranking Member Napolitano.  “It includes important provisions that require the Army Corps to work more with local communities and cities, in every congressional district, on improving water infrastructure to meet their individual needs, including water supply, water treatment, environmental restoration, stormwater capture, and flood control.  There are projects that assist all of our constituents, and it is encouraging to see our Committee continue in a bipartisan fashion on this legislation every two years.”

WRDA 2018:

· Authorizes locally driven, but nationally vital, investments in our Nation’s water resources infrastructure.

· Strengthens economic growth and competitiveness, helps move goods throughout the country and abroad, and protects our communities.

· Follows the transparent process Congress established under the 2014 reforms for considering proposed Army Corps of Engineers activities.

· Builds upon previous reforms of the Corps to further accelerate the process for moving projects forward more efficiently and at lower cost.

· Upholds Congress’ constitutional duty to provide for infrastructure and facilitate commerce for the Nation. 

Click here for additional information about the Water Resources Development Act of 2018.