Straight Talk with Sam: Passing a Bipartisan Water Resources Bill


Date: Oct. 28, 2013
Location: Washington, DC

Passing a Bipartisan Water Resources Bill

Last week, the House of Representatives passed legislation called the Water Resources Reform and Development Act, or WRRDA, by a near unanimous vote of 417-3. This bill will authorize the key missions of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, including navigation and flood prevention projects.

Having efficient water infrastructure is critical to a healthy economy. Passing WRRDA means jobs, trade, competitiveness, and economic development for Missouri and America. This bill is important for the 6th District, which is bordered by both the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers. Waterways and ports help support nearly 25,000 jobs in Missouri and contribute $4 billion to our state's economy.

But like anything in Washington, red tape is holding up worthwhile projects. Presently, the Corps does not have a time limit for reviewing projects before making a decision as to their feasibility. Among other provisions, WRRDA speeds the process up, putting a 3-year cap on these studies and scaling back layers of bureaucracy.

Additionally, in August, I held a Small Business Committee hearing in St. Joseph on management of the Missouri River, and one of the key concerns I heard was with the way the Corps currently acquires land. The Corps should not needlessly buy up land without having an express purpose for doing so. This is a longstanding problem that I have worked to solve for several years. I am pleased that WRRDA contains language to help fix this problem by making the Corps more accountable for its actions and decisions by calling for a clear, results-based strategy for mitigation on the river.

I was proud to support this bipartisan bill, and look forward to working out our differences with the Senate's bill quickly.


Sam Graves