The U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure has plans to consider the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2013 when Congress returns from its August recess in September, according to Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa., the committee’s chairman, and Rep. Bob Gibbs, R-Ohio, chairman of the Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment.
According to Rep. Tim Bishop, D-N.Y., ranking member of the subcommittee, Shuster’s hope is to mark up the bill the first week lawmakers are back from recess, with it going to the floor the week after, Politico reports. The committee leaders’ plans also received the support of John Boehner, Speaker of the House, and Eric Cantor, House Majority Leader.
“This legislation will contain no earmarks and will make major reforms to increase transparency, accountability and Congressional oversight in reviewing and prioritizing future water resources development activities,” Shuster said. “WRRDA will cut federal red tape and bureaucracy, streamline the project delivery process, promote fiscal responsibility and strengthen our water transportation networks to promote American competitiveness, prosperity and economic growth.”
“While it once took the Corps of Engineers three to five years to complete a study, it has now become the norm for this process to take 10 to 15 years,” Gibbs added. “Congress must change the way the Corps of Engineers does business.”
Notably, Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.va., ranking member of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, said the bill would require local governments to request projects, which the Corps would then need to approve:
“Our process would have the whole process start at the local level, with the local people having to go to the Corps of Engineers and getting their support,” Rahall said in an interview with a Politico reporter. “The Corps would then come to us.”
However, Politico noted that Rahall was not clear on how Congress would then authorize the corps-approved projects.
“It’d be an impetus to do WRDA more often, of course,” he added.