Senate names waterways bill conferees

Five Democrats and three Republicans named to Senate waterways bill conference committee.

The Senate requested a conference with the House on water resources legislation last week and appointed conferees Nov. 4.

In May, the Senate passed S. 601, the bipartisan Water Resources and Development Act (WRDA) by a vote of 83 to 14. In October, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 3080, the Water Resources and Reform Development Act (WRRDA) with a vote of 417 to 3.

For Democrats the conferees include Sens. Barbara Boxer (D., Ca.), chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, Max Baucus (D., Mont.), Thomas Carper (D., Del.), Ben Cardin (D., Md.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D., R.I.).

For Republicans the list includes ranking member Sens. David Vitter (R., La.), John Barrasso (R., Wy.) and James Inhofe (R., Okla.).

Boxer will serve as the chair of the Senate-House conference which will reconcile the two

The House version included provisions that reform the project delivery processes of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, create a prioritization of authorized improvements based upon risk of failure and economic return, and provide needed adjustments to the Inland Waterways Trust Fund.   

Boxer noted that she looks forward to working with her House and Senate colleagues on a final conference report with the goals of investing in the nation's flood control projects, navigation routes and ports, and ecosystems.

Vitter added, "WRDA is one of the single most significant pieces of infrastructure legislation we've voted on this year, and I look forward to working to get a final bill that includes our Senate provisions. We have the opportunity to reform the Corps of Engineers, streamline flood protection projects, and improve our waterways and infrastructure all in one bill. This is a huge benefit for our entire country."

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