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Committee Leaders Introduce Bipartisan Water Resources Development Act of 2020

July 13, 2020

This legislation is critical to the Nation’s ports, inland waterways, locks, dams, flood protection, ecosystem restoration, and other water resources infrastructure 

Washington, D.C. – Today, Chair of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Ranking Member Sam Graves (R-MO), Chair of the Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment Grace F. Napolitano (D-CA), and Water Resources and Environment Ranking Member Bruce Westerman (R-AR) introduced the Water Resources Development Act of 2020 (WRDA). This legislation provides authority for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) to carry out water resources development projects and studies, as well as reforms and policy direction to the Corps for implementation of its civil works missions. The Committee is set to mark up this legislation on Wednesday, July 15, 2020.

Specifically, WRDA 2020 authorizes 35 Corps feasibility studies and construction of all 34 pending proposed projects with final Chief’s Reports within the Corps Civil Works mission areas, including navigation, flood damage reduction, hurricane and storm damage reduction, shoreline protection, and ecosystem restoration. Regular consideration of locally-driven, rigorously-studied, and nationally-significant water resources infrastructure is key to preserving our Nation’s economy, to protecting our communities and businesses, and to maintaining our quality of life. This work, typically carried out by the Corps, is made possible through enactment of WRDA. 

Congress has successfully enacted three consecutive bipartisan WRDAs in 2014, 2016, and 2018. With WRDA 2020, we will continue this positive track record and show that WRDA still works. More information, including bill text, can be found here.

“I am pleased to continue the tradition restarted by the previous Chairman of moving a bipartisan WRDA package every two years. I am grateful to Chair Napolitano and Ranking Members Graves and Westerman for their tireless work to see this bill come to fruition,” said Chair DeFazio. “One of my biggest priorities when developing WRDA 2020 was to fully unlock Federal investment in our nation’s ports and harbors. This legislation will allow for the approximately $10 billion in already collected HMT funds to be used to ensure the maintenance needs of ports and harbors across the country are met. In addition, the legislation sets aside funding specifically to meet the needs of emerging harbors, including improvements to jetties and breakwaters. WRDA 2020 will improve safety, sustain jobs, and provide much needed improvements to Corps projects. I look forward to bringing this legislation to the House Floor soon for a vote.”

“WRDA 2020 will benefit transportation and commerce through our ports and inland waterways, save lives and property too frequently threatened by flooding, and bring numerous economic benefits to the Nation,” said Ranking Member Graves.  “For my district in Missouri and those who have suffered from devastating floods, this bill takes vital steps to improve flood control infrastructure and reduce the future risk and potential for damage from such disasters.  I thank Chairs DeFazio and Napolitano, Ranking Member Westerman, and all the Members who worked to develop this legislation, which demonstrates that operating in a bipartisan manner always offers this committee our best opportunity to positively impact our Nation’s infrastructure.”

“I am proud that we have another strong bipartisan WRDA bill, and I thank Chairman DeFazio and our Republican counterparts, Ranking Members Graves and Westerman, for their hard work and collegiality on this legislation. Our bill includes many important provisions to Southern California, like additional funding to our Ports and moving the Army Corps towards a stronger focus on water supply for our arid region. This legislation will create jobs while addressing the long-term resiliency of our water projects and providing assistance to low-income and disadvantaged communities. We look forward to swift consideration and passage of WRDA 2020,” said Chair Napolitano.

“Maintaining and improving our water infrastructure is something that affects every American, whether you’re a farmer irrigating crops or simply someone who enjoys the many goods and products transported via waterways,” said Ranking Member Westerman.  “WRDA is essential legislation that we must renew every two years, and the 2020 bill both reauthorizes longstanding projects and implements new ones. I’m particularly glad to provide assistance to Arkansas waterways like the Ouachita, Sulphur and Arkansas Rivers, all of which will benefit from WRDA. Other important provisions, like prioritizing flood risk resiliency and technical assistance for economically-disadvantaged and rural communities, are also included in the bill. Overall, this is legislation that will address the maintenance backlog, complete projects faster and bolster rural America.” 

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