December 08, 2016

DeFazio Statement on the House Passage of WRDA

Washington, D.C.Today, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Peter DeFazio (D-OR) issued the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act (WIIN), which authorizes funding for the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) navigation, flood control, and environmental restoration projects.

“For months, I worked with my Republican counterparts on a WRDA bill that strengthened coastal communities and our environment, and created and sustained thousands of jobs. The Transportation Committee passed that bill, which included my provision that would have protected the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund from being raided by Congress to offset unrelated government spending. Unfortunately, House Republican Leaders stripped that provision from our bipartisan bill. Without that provision, more than $9 billion in previously-collected harbor maintenance tax revenue will continue to sit idle in the U.S. Treasury and grow to more than $17 billion over the next decade, rather than being used to improve the reliability of our U.S. ports and harbors and create jobs.

“Despite that, I worked with Chairman Shuster and with the Senate on the public works portion of this bill, which is under the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure’s jurisdiction. We came up with a good, bipartisan product that makes permanent a set-aside that dedicates critical funding for small port dredging.

“Sadly, the Republican Leadership again opted to sabotage this bipartisan work by adding a last-minute, 90-page poison pill that jeopardizes the West Coast fishing industry and the thousands of jobs that depend on sustainable, healthy fisheries. In addition, the Republican Leadership has shown its true colors on protecting jobs here in the United States by undermining worker protections and Buy America requirements for programs and projects authorized by this bill. According to the Department of Interior, $180 million of grant funding in the California Water provision is not subject to Davis-Bacon or Buy America wage protections. These provisions will undermine the principle of prevailing wage protections for construction jobs, and send American taxpayer dollars abroad to boost foreign steel and jobs, not American manufacturing or workers.

“House Republican Leaders may have changed the name of this bill from ‘WRDA’ to ‘WIIN,’ but by airdropping in poison pills, stripping Democratic priorities, and harming American workers and manufacturing, they turned this winner into a ‘Loser’.”