House Committee Pushes Critical Water Infrastructure Bill Toward a Floor Vote

By Matthew McMullan
Jul 15 2020 |
The Keystone Dam in Oklahoma with all of its gates open. | Getty Images

Biennial funding legislation would authorize work on some essential water projects.

The House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure has finished its markup of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2020. WRDA has passed out of committee favorably, and will now move to the House floor, and a little closer to a full vote. Craftin’ bills, passin’ legislation! This is the sausage of government in action! And you gotta do this:

To get to this:

And isn't that where we're all trying to get to? Macho Man holdin' a bunch of Slim Jims? Yes.

Anyway, close readers of the blog will remember we’ve talked about WRDA before, which authorizes funding for water infrastructure projects across the country. It’s a biennial bill, meaning it needs to be reauthorized every two years. In years past, WRDA has included stuff like billions of dollars to maintain and install new drinking water infrastructure, and other pots of money to make wastewater infrastructure more efficient. But a lot of that stuff ended up in the big, hulking $1.5 trillion infrastructure package the House passed a few weeks ago, which is all well and good, because a lot of that stuff has strong Buy America rules attached to it.

Still, the 2020 WRDA reauthorization is important, because the Army Corps of Engineers will perform some really essential work. This version authorizes  spending necessary for harbor maintenance, inland waterway construction projects, and projects for flood-prone communities, among about a zillion of other things. This is minute and specific but important, because reliable infrastructure – precisely the kinds of things WRDA and that big House bill from a few weeks ago address – is essential to an efficient economy.

In effect, this kinda thing makes us all richer (and richer still if Buy America rules direct the spending to domestic manufacturers) and it’s why we’re glad to see WRDA is moving forward.