Despite the Administration's urging against passage of the Water Resources Development Act, the House voted in favor of the bill overwhelmingly, 394-25.
The legislation authorizes funding for Army Corps of Engineers water projects across the country, including improvements to river transportation infrastructure in the Midwest, and would provide funding for ecosystem conservation and restoration. The Congressional Budget Office estimated the bill's costs at $13.2 billion over 15 years.
The Bush Administration asked the Congress this week not to pass the bill, citing budget concerns. But bill supporters say that the level of funding the bill authorizes has gone up after similar bills didn't make it out of Congress in previous years.
"Corn growers have worked tirelessly for more than a decade to see this legislation become a reality," says Ken McCauley, NCGA president. "An upgraded water transportation system is urgently needed to ensure U.S. farmers can efficiently move their crops to market and stay competitive in the international marketplace."
The Senate version of the bill has cleared the Environment and Public Works Committee but a floor vote has not yet been scheduled, though NCGA reports that EPW Committee Chairwoman Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., has said the Senate could vote on the bill before the May recess.