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house Bill H.R. 5303

Providing $5 Billion for Water Infrastructure Projects (With Funding for Flint)

Argument in favor

This is a sensible bill that will ensure that America’s ports, harbors, and waterways are maintained and communities receive support for flood prevention and recovery projects.

fdbetancor's Opinion
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09/27/2016
There is now little (scientific) doubt about the likelihood of major climate change impacts, the most grievous of which is likely to be rising sea levels. Although investing in major water projects such as levees and river banks is only a palliative, it is better than nothing. Additionally, the nation's harbors are sadly out dated and in need of major improvements which would provide an economic boost from overseas trade.
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Henry's Opinion
···
09/27/2016
Our waterways and water resources need to be protected and nourished as water security is one of the most pressing issues facing the world. Flint definitely needs help but this is a separate issue. The lesson of the Flint catastrophe can definitely be worked into future water usage but it of itself should not hold back critical protection of other water bodies and resources.
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Margaret's Opinion
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09/27/2016
I would like to see more specific projects presented in a bill like this & to have it include clean drinking water... free of both lead and pesticides, mercury, cadmium, etc.
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Argument opposed

No funding bill for water infrastructure projects should be passed unless it contains significant funds to address the lead contamination in Flint, Michigan’s drinking water.

John's Opinion
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09/27/2016
Should not be approved without funding to assist the residents of Flint, MI
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operaman's Opinion
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09/27/2016
Water infrastructure is a state issue, not a Federal issue. But Yes, water is important. So why is California building high speed rail that starts in low populated areas and ends in a farm community? If people, communities and the state need better water, maybe they need re-prioritize the infrastructure program.
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Elizabeth's Opinion
···
09/30/2016
This is a state issue. It should be dealt with in state, with state levied taxes. Where exactly do they think they're going to get an additional 5 billion dollars when we're already up to our ears in debt and with a nonexistent budget? This kind of spending is unsustainable and the sooner we all realize that and put our foot down, the better.
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What is House Bill H.R. 5303?

Update September 28, 2016: A bipartisan amendment to provide $170 million in emergency funding for Flint, Michigan was introduced yesterday and was added to the bill on a 284 to 141 vote.

This bill would authorize the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to carry out projects aimed at improving the nation’s harbors, locks, dams, flood protection, and other water resources infrastructure. It would provide $5 billion in funding for Corps activities which would be offset by de-authorizing $5 billion in funding for projects that had been approved but have since been de-prioritized.

The legislation would authorize a variety of navigation, flood risk management, hurricane and storm damage, ecosystem restoration, and recreation or riverline shoreline projects in the following states: Arkansas, California, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin.

Assistance for states would be available to go toward water conservation during drought emergencies, flood damage reduction projects, and combined funding for drainage basins, watersheds, or ecosystems that encompass multiple states.

Funding for flood management could be granted in installments in the form of credits or reimbursements as portions of a project are completed. The Corps would be able to accept non-federal funds to revise reservoir operations based on flood-risk and navigational concerns. Non-federal interests (such as states or cities) that partially fund a flood damage reduction project would be able to receive a credit instead of a reimbursement for covering the federal share of a project for a longer period of time.

This legislation would require that priority funding be used for operation and maintenance projects at emerging harbors. Increased funding for commercial navigation costs would be provided beginning in fiscal year 2027.

Impact

Non-federal interests like state and local governments that fund water infrastructure projects; and the Army Corps of Engineers.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 5303

$3.10 Billion
The CBO estimates that enacting this bill would cost about $3.1 billion over the 2017-2026 period, with about $970 million of that coming in the next five years.

More Information

In-Depth: Sponsoring Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA) introduced this bill to get Congress back on track for reauthorizing water infrastructure projects on a regular basis to create jobs and strengthen the economy:

“Water resources infrastructure is fundamental to a sound economy, and WRDA 2016 gets Congress back to basics and the business of regularly addressing the needs of our ports, waterways, lock and dam systems, flood protection, and other infrastructure.

Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR), the top Democrat on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, supported this bill when it moved out of committee but reversed his stance in part because of a lack of funding for Flint, Michigan:

“Despite [Speaker Paul Ryan’s (R-WI)] comments that the House should use [the WRDA] as a vehicle to address the ongoing tragedy facing the citizens of Flint, Michigan, the Republican leadership has opposed every effort to include any assistance in this bill to help the city of Flint protect its citizens and children from ongoing health risks.”

This legislation was passed unanimously by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on a voice vote. It currently has the support of three bipartisan cosponsors in the House — two Democrats (including DeFazio) and a Republican.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: Gnovick / Creative Commons)

AKA

Water Resources Development Act of 2016

Official Title

To provide for improvements to the rivers and harbors of the United States, to provide for the conservation and development of water and related resources, and for other purposes.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house Passed September 28th, 2016
    Roll Call Vote 399 Yea / 25 Nay
      house Committees
      Water, Oceans, and Wildlife
      Committee on Natural Resources
      Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
      Water Resources and Environment
    IntroducedMay 23rd, 2016

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    There is now little (scientific) doubt about the likelihood of major climate change impacts, the most grievous of which is likely to be rising sea levels. Although investing in major water projects such as levees and river banks is only a palliative, it is better than nothing. Additionally, the nation's harbors are sadly out dated and in need of major improvements which would provide an economic boost from overseas trade.
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    Should not be approved without funding to assist the residents of Flint, MI
    Like (38)
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    Our waterways and water resources need to be protected and nourished as water security is one of the most pressing issues facing the world. Flint definitely needs help but this is a separate issue. The lesson of the Flint catastrophe can definitely be worked into future water usage but it of itself should not hold back critical protection of other water bodies and resources.
    Like (9)
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    I would like to see more specific projects presented in a bill like this & to have it include clean drinking water... free of both lead and pesticides, mercury, cadmium, etc.
    Like (8)
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    No funding for Flint, no bill.
    Like (6)
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    Water infrastructure is a state issue, not a Federal issue. But Yes, water is important. So why is California building high speed rail that starts in low populated areas and ends in a farm community? If people, communities and the state need better water, maybe they need re-prioritize the infrastructure program.
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    Too many states have failed to regulate their water systems. Many of those drinking contaminated water are in low income areas. The states have failed to provide essential basic services to their constituents and therefore this funding is vital. It creates jobs and provides the most important basic need of the people, clean water.
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    Lift the bs restrictions and let private business fund it.
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    This is a State issue, it is not a Federal issue. Since Flint is a Michigan city, that makes it my issue, my neighbors issue, a Michigan issue. Until it becomes a Federal issue, then they can stay out and leave us to our own resources.
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    This bill does not seem to focus enough on the major issue across the US--access to clean drinking water. Our home-state of Michigan has felt the harsh consequences of a government that neglects infrastructure for clean water access (a UN recognized HUMAN RIGHT), and while that is in large part due to Michigan's current, corrupt leadership in the executive and legislative branches, this is not an issue unique to the City of Flint in our state, nor to the State of Michigan, alone. Thirty-three out of our 50 states in the USA have recognized contaminated water supplies, with the worst states being spread throughout the country (California, New Jersey, North Carolina, Alabama, Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York, Georgia, Minnesota, Arizona, Massachusetts and Illinois). Clearly, then, this is an American issue, and thus the Federal government has a duty to provide sufficient and efficient funding to help ensure all Americans have access to clean water. A nation that boasts prosperity and innovation, as we do, should not allow its own citizens to live without access to such a simple yet crucial source of life on Earth, clean water.
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    This is a state issue. It should be dealt with in state, with state levied taxes. Where exactly do they think they're going to get an additional 5 billion dollars when we're already up to our ears in debt and with a nonexistent budget? This kind of spending is unsustainable and the sooner we all realize that and put our foot down, the better.
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    Build infrastructure without these antiquated systems like dams that harm the environment and drastically alter our natural environment for a slight gain in energy or safety.
    Like (3)
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    Water safety is one of the most fundamental pillars of good health.
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    As a friend of mine said, "About that water bill? I'm looking from a States issue. The more Federal Gov passes out money, the greater propensities for coastal cities to start leaning left for money. But if the state controls the cash, cities will be more state oriented. California has many ports; San Diego, LA/Long Beach, SF. All are Democrat controlled (not sure if SD-was is Democrat). Plus when I see water, I think of lakes, rivers, reservoirs, not cities like Flint. That's a state matter and must be addressed at a state/city level. Dems created it, Dems should fix it. Spent their money on Social programs and graft."
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    Considering that Flint MI has water issues funding needs to go to them to get their issues squared away
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    Flint made their own bed by not acting 25 years ago and subsequently raiding their own water fund. But Democrats don't understand responsibility.
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    Water projects are important. But don't forget the water needs of people. This bill should not prevent new infrastructure for landlocked areas, including Flint, MI and water conservation in Arizona.
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    It should include money to go to communities where their commercial water services are impacted by faulty infrastructure. There are more communities like this than just Flint, Michigan in the US.
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    America is so far behind in infrastructure that we need to keep investing in ourselves. If we don't invest in ourselves how will we succeed?
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    I'm sick of congressmen aside and everything for all Americans they need to get the hell out of Congress after two terms so anything they want to do is pay me under the table and I'll vote your way. And not allow them to have free insurance for the rest of their life we don't get it we barely get enough money to live off of and we worked her tail lens off if that's country bye-bye down these immigrants can come in and we pay for their food their housing their medical and their old man go out and work for cash so they dry brand-new. I'm sick of Mexicans coming over here look at our prison systems just look at them.
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