House Passes Water Resources & Development Act

Kelly MarshallAg Group, Government

uscapitolThe U.S. House of Representatives passed the Water Resources and Development Act of 2016 (WRDA 2016) by a vote of 399-25. The two year, reauthorization bill provides infrastructure programs and the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund; programs that allow American farmers to remain commutative in a global market.  The bill will clear the backlog of projects for the Army Corps of Engineers, providing more than $10 billion in funding.

The National Corn Growers Association and the American Soybean Association have both supported the bill.

The WRDA passed by the House is a modest measure that builds on the comprehensive WRDA enacted in 2014, and demonstrates the commitment and ability of Congress to return to the routine of reauthorizing WRDA every two years.

Notably, the bill passed by the full House does not include a provision that was in the version passed by the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee to make the HMTF mandatory funding beginning in 2027, rather than fully subject to annual appropriations. Law established in the 2014 WRDA does provide a schedule for increasing the amount of HMTF funds that must be appropriated annually through 2025.This funding schedule ramps funding up to 100 percent of HMTF revenues by 2025 and, so far, the Appropriations Committees have met the obligations.

The Senate passed their version of the bill on Sept. 15, so the next step is a Conference Committee, expected during the lame duck session after the election.  Leaders are optimistic the bill will be sent to the President by the end of the 2016.