The Water Resources Development Act is set for a House vote, but the Bush Administration is asking Congress to reject it due to budget concerns. However, the Administration has not yet threatened a veto if the bill passes in Congress.
WRDA would authorize funding for Army Corps of Engineers water projects across the country, including improvements to river transportation infrastructure in the Midwest. The Congressional Budget Office estimated the bill's costs at $13.2 billion over 15 years.
The administration released a statement this week arguing that the bill would be too costly and calling for Congress to vote it down.
Illinois Corn Growers Association president Steve Ruh has reason to support the bill, as the bill would authorize improvements to locks on the Upper Mississippi and Illinois Rivers. "Corn may go down the river, but consumer goods like coal and building materials move upriver, and we depend on this system more than most people know," Ruh says. "This project's current price tag is because of delays and further delays will only make it more costly. Our organization has been promoting updates on our river system for 14 years and we haven't had a WRDA in place since 2000."
The Senate version of the bill has cleared the Environment and Public Works Committee but a floor vote has not yet been scheduled.