July 29, 2020

U.S. House of Representatives Passes Bipartisan Water Resources Development Act of 2020

Washington, D.C. – Today, Chair of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Ranking Member Sam Graves (R-MO), Chair of the Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment Grace F. Napolitano (D-CA), and Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment Ranking Member Bruce Westerman (R-AR) applauded House passage of the bipartisan Water Resources Development Act of 2020 (WRDA).

WRDA 2020 provides authority for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) to carry out water resources development projects and studies; it also reforms and provides policy direction to the Corps for implementation of its civil works missions. This legislation is critical to the Nation’s ports, inland waterways, locks, dams, flood protection, ecosystem restoration, and other water resources infrastructure. More information, including bill text, can be found here.

“It’s a great day for communities across the country when Congress works together to pass legislation with direct and immediate impacts to improve local ports, harbors, and waterways. Additionally, it’s always a good thing when Congress can prove it is still possible to come together and create meaningful legislation on a bipartisan basis,” said Chair DeFazio. “WRDA 2020 authorizes critical Corps projects, which will strengthen our coastal communities, help keep us competitive in the global economy, restore our coastal environment, and create and sustain thousands of good paying American jobs. This bill also transforms the Corps’ planning process to ensure that future water resources development projects are more resilient, fully evaluate ecological and societal benefits, and are accessible to all communities, including rural and economically disadvantaged communities whose needs are often overlooked. I am particularly proud this legislation completes my decades-long mission to reform the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund by allowing billions in already collected HMT funds to be used for their intended purpose—ensuring maintenance needs of ports and harbors across the country are met. Thanks to Chair Napolitano and Ranking Members Graves and Westerman for their work to move this important legislation forward. I urge the Senate act quickly so we can send legislation to the President’s desk to be signed into law.”

“This bill is vital for advancing flood risk reduction projects, helping rural communities to better address their flood control needs, and empowering communities in building more resilient infrastructure after disasters,” said Ranking Member Graves.  “In addition, WRDA provides navigation improvements for America’s ports and inland waterways system that will help grow the economy and create jobs.  I am proud to cosponsor this bipartisan bill, and I strongly support the infrastructure improvements it will bring to North Missouri and the rest of the country.”

“Our bipartisan WRDA bill includes many important provisions that will help communities in Southern California and across the nation tackle the water challenges they face with water supply, flood prevention, and water quality. I am very pleased the bill includes my provision to increase funding to the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach and other large ports for dredging, environmental cleanup, seismic retrofits, and berth maintenance to provide greater equity in the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund. Our legislation will create jobs while improving the long-term resiliency of our water projects and providing assistance to low-income and disadvantaged communities. I thank Chairman DeFazio, Ranking Member Graves, and Ranking Member Westerman for their partnership in getting this bill introduced, through Committee, and now passed by the House, all with strong bipartisan support,” said Chair Napolitano.

“The 2020 Water Resources Development Act is a bipartisan, commonsense bill that works for America. Water resources tend to be out of sight and out of mind, but that’s exactly why WRDA is so important. When severe flooding hit my home state of Arkansas last year, the historic rains breached many of our levees and devasted our water infrastructure, destroying homes and farmland. We need legislation like WRDA to shore up our infrastructure, improve navigable waterways and ensure people across America are safe from flood threats. I’m honored to have spent the past year and a half working on this legislation with my committee colleagues, and I hope to see it quickly signed into law,” said Ranking Member Westerman.