The U.S. House of Representatives voted to pass the Water Resources Reform and Development Act.
The vote was a landslide with 97 percent saying 'yes,' only 1 percent voting 'no' and 2 percent not voting. There were 224 affirmative Republican votes and 193 affirmative Democrat votes.
The act, entitled H.R. 3080, authorizes the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to construct water projects for mitigating storm and hurricane damage, restoring ecosystems and improving flood management. It provides final authorization for construction of the Caloosahatchee River (C-43) Reservoir, a holding area for the freshwater releases from Lake Okeechobee. Construction of this project will help keep these releases from harming our waterways.
"Today, I was proud to vote for the bipartisan Water Resources Reform and Development Act," said Congressman Trey Radel (FL-19). "This bill contains zero earmarks, and fulfills the promises the government made to our state to complete the Caloosahatchee River Reservoir. This Reservoir will protect our beaches from the dirty, filthy freshwater releases coming from Lake Okeechobee, after all, in Southwest Florida we know a healthy environment means a healthy economy."
The legislation also authorizes the agency to assist states and local governments with levee safety programs and to assist Indian tribes with planning and technical assistance for water resources projects. H.R. 3080 directs the Corps to implement a pilot program to enter agreements with nonfederal partners to manage and construct certain projects. Those agreements would be subject to appropriation of all federal costs.
Assuming appropriation of the necessary amounts, including adjustments for anticipated inflation, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that implementing H.R. 3080 would cost about $3.5 billion over 2014-2018 period. Spending would continue for authorized projects after 2018, and CBO estimates that such spending would total $4.7 billion over the 2019-2023 period.
Pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply because enacting the bill would not affect direct spending or revenues.
H.R. 3080 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act.
SOURCE: Congressional Budget Office and Congressman Trey Radel's office