House poised to take up water resources development bill next week

By Derrick Cain

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WASHINGTON, Oct. 16, 2013 - House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., announced today the House will take up its water resources development act next week, according to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

The committee approved the bill (H.R. 3080), by voice vote, on Sept. 19.

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The bipartisan Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA) would re-authorize the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to develop, maintain, and support the nation's vital port and waterways infrastructure needs, and support effective and targeted flood protection and environmental restoration needs. 

Committee Chairman Bill Shuster, R-Pa., has said the bill is the most reform-oriented water resources legislation in 20 years.

“This bill contains no earmarks and makes reforms needed to increase transparency, accountability, and congressional oversight of federal water resources development,” Shuster said.

The legislation aims to cut federal red tape and bureaucracy, streamline the infrastructure project delivery process, promote fiscal responsibility, and strengthen aging water transportation networks.

The Senate approved its version of the reauthorization May 16 on a strong bipartisan 83-14 vote. The Senate's Water Resources Development Act (S. 601) seeks to authorize funding to modernize the nation's locks and dams, provide upkeep for rivers and coasts, assist with flood protection and restore key environmental areas.

The largest difference between the House and Senate bill is the House bill would require congressional approval for water-related projects while the Senate bill would leave approvals to the executive branch.

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