On May 16 at 5:41p.m. the U.S. Senate passed their version of the Water Resources Development Act of 2007 by a vote of 91-4. (Those casting no votes included Sens. Gregg Sununu Coburn and DeMint.)
Worth Hager director of the National Waterways Conference issued this report 10 minutes after the vote:
Around noon after the Senate had dealt with amendments concerning U.S. policy in Iraq Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and chair of the Environment and Public Works Committee rose to explain that the long list of amendments (over 45) had been whittled down to 10 or 12 that the “big four” (Boxer Inhofe Baucus and Isakson) hoped to roll into the Manager’s Amendment. She then said that Sen. Dr. Tom Coburn (R-OK) had questions about four of them. There were two other amendments that Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) wanted about the need for reports on already authorized but not yet funded projects. Boxer indicated that the members were going to try to work out the differences off the Senate floor and hoped they would return within an hour.
More than five hours elapsed before Sen. Boxer appeared at 4:54 p.m. to announce that there was finally agreement on a Manager’s package (the Senate substitute for the House version of WRDA) with which to go to conference with the House.
During final statements Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) ranking member of the Committee shared his time with Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) who praised the bill – and announced that part of what had delayed the agreement was finalizing how to shut down the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet. Sen. Boxer gave eight of her nine minutes to Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) who also praised the bill for providing for Louisiana.
Sen. Boxer finished by thanking organizations that supported the need for a WRDA saying “From the corn growers to the carpenters…this bill is about making sure that the water resources infrastructure of the nation is up to the task.” She also said “I’m smiling from ear to ear…it has been an amazing road.”
At the end of the vote Sen. Harry Reid called Sen. Boxer and Sen. Inhofe the “odd couple” and praised WRDA as “a wonderful piece of work and both [Senators] should be proud. We will get this bill to conference as quick as we can.”
On May 17 the following senators were announced as conferees for the final bill. They include six democrats and five republicans: Senators Boxer Baucus Lieberman Carper Clinton Lautenberg Inhofe Warner Voinovich Isakson and Vitter.
To view the vote tally see: