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WRDA Bill Fails to Pass; Could Pass in Lame Duck Session

WRDA (the Water Resources Development Act) did not pass the Senate on October 11, reported Worth Hager, executive director of the National Waterways Conference.

“But, Congress will be back after the election break for a lame duck session beginning on November 16th to deal with primarily appropriations bills,” she said.

A WRDA bill could be enacted through one of two avenues, said Hager. The first is to pass the bill as a stand-alone (which means we must also have the Cochran-Landrieu-Cornyn amendment), and the second is to attach WRDA to the expected omnibus appropriations measure or some other bill.

Attaching WRDA to something like the omnibus appropriations bill would be beneficial in terms of the type of legislation we could all support, said Hager.
Appropriations legislation must originate in the House, so it would be up to the House appropriators, in conjunction with Congressman Don Young, chair of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, to agree to add WRDA. Since the House has a ready bill, many speculate that fewer changes would be needed to make it palatable to the Senate. As the House WRDA is a bi-partisan bill, the chances of attaching it are that much greater.

Hager also reported that the Military Construction Appropriations bill passed the Senate with an emergency supplemental bill attached. The supplement contained $372.4 million for the Corps of Engineers to help pay recent hurricane damage.

Those amounts by business line are: $400 thousand for General Investigations, $62.6 million for Construction General, $148 million for Flood Control and Coastal Emergencies (along with a provision that states that shore protection should restored to pre-storm conditions), $6 million for Mississippi River and Tributaries, and $145.4 million for Operation and Maintenance. There was also a general provision that provided $10 million for storm damage in West Virginia.

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