Committee Unanimously Approves Water Resources Development Act
The Transportation and Infrastructure Committee today unanimously approved the bipartisan Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2018, legislation that provides for improvements to the Nation’s ports, inland waterways, locks, dams, flood protection, ecosystem restoration, and other water resources infrastructure.
Today’s approval marks the third Water Resources Development Act approved by the Committee under Chairman Shuster’s leadership, and follows the transparent process established under the 2014 bill (the Water Resources Reform and Development Act) that has led to a return to regular order and biennial consideration of this critical legislation.
WRDA 2018 (H.R. 8) 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).
“Thanks to the bipartisan commitment of our committee, we have enacted water resources infrastructure legislation in 2014 and 2016, and now with today’s bill, we are continuing to demonstrate that WRDA works. WRDA 2018 keeps America competitive, provides a foundation for job growth, fosters a more robust economy, and protects our communities,” Shuster said. “I look forward to taking up this bill in the House of Representatives and working with the Senate to send a bill to the President.”
“Today’s passage of the Water Resources Development Act of 2018 means great things for our Nation’s coastal communities and those located on inland waterways,” said DeFazio. “I’m glad my provision to ensure that funds collected in the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund will actually go toward harbor maintenance was included in this legislation. This provision will ensure America’s ports and harbors are once again fully maintained, which will save and create jobs, grow businesses, and keep us competitive in the world economy. I thank Chairmen Shuster and Graves for working with me and with Ranking Member Napolitano to produce this bipartisan bill, and I look forward to working with them to move this legislation through the House.”
“How the government prioritizes, plans and ensures the completion of water resource projects is the difference between life and death in many cases. We have to refocus the Corps of Engineers on moving dirt instead of pushing paper,” said Graves. “This bill, together with the Disaster Reform and Recovery Act (H.R. 4) recently passed by the House, begins shifting from responsive bureaucratic delays to leaning forward, building projects, improving the resilience of our communities, improving our ports and navigation channels and restoring our coastal ecosystems.”
“WRDA is critical for providing flood protection, ecosystem restoration, port improvements, and water supply opportunities for our local communities,” said Napolitano. “I am particularly pleased that this bill includes provisions that will help drought-prone regions like California expand their water supply options with cost-effective stormwater capture and water recycling projects.”
In other action, Chairman Shuster welcomed Congressman Mike Gallagher (R-WI) to the Committee to fill a vacancy, and the Committee approved updated full committee and subcommittee rosters to reflect Rep. Gallagher’s addition.
Shuster said, “As the Representative of Wisconsin’s 8th district, Congressman Gallagher replaced our former colleague Reid Ribble in the House at the beginning of this Congress, and now he has Reid’s shoes to fill on this Committee. Reid was a valuable and thoughtful Member of Transportation and Infrastructure, so those are large shoes to fill. But I believe we’ll get the same kind of contributions from Congressman Gallagher and I look forward to working with him as we continue moving legislation to improve our Nation’s infrastructure.”
Congressman Gallagher will serve on the Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management; the Subcommittee on Highways and Transit; and the Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials.