06 Oct HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE OTHER WASHINGTON
In June, H.R. 2, the Moving Forward Act was introduced in the House. The measure is a large infrastructure bill, which provides a total of $1.5 trillion authorizations for a wide variety of infrastructure provisions including roads, bridges, aviation, rail, and water. In total, the bill authorizes close to $70 billion dollars for water infrastructure. The bill was voted on favorably by the House of Representatives and awaits further consideration by the Senate. The League is closely monitoring this bill.
In July, H.R. 7575, the Water Resources Development Act was introduced and subsequently voted on favorably by the House of Representatives. The bill focuses most of the resources on Army Corps projects and does not include a Reclamation Title for which the League previously advocated. A Reclamation Title would open up funding opportunities for projects like the Columbia Basin Project.
However, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW) passed its version of WRDA (S.3591 the America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2020) out of Committee in May, and the Senate is still expected to expected to take up S.3591, and work to reconcile it with the H.R.7575 in an eventual conference.
It is anticipated that if a Reclamation Title were to be included in WRDA 2020, it will be attached to the Senate version. In light of that, the League sent a letter to Senator Cantwell encouraging her to request and support a Reclamation Title in the Senate’s version of WRDA given that she is a member of the Energy and Natural Resources (ENR) Committee. This letter follows a June letter sent to both Senators Cantwell and Murray when the WRDA text was first introduced. Letters were also sent to ENR leadership encouraging the inclusion of a Reclamation Title.
In July, the House Appropriations Committee released their proposed Energy and Water Development Funding Bill for fiscal year 2021 and voted on favorably by the House of Representatives also in July. This bill funds the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), United States Bureau of Reclamation, the Department of Energy, and other related agencies.
In total, the measure provides $49.6 billion for programs operated by the aforementioned agencies, which is a 3% increase from FY2020. In light of COVID-19, the House Committee on Appropriations chose to include $17 billion in emergency funding for USACE the to continue the nation’s recovery effort. This funding is intended to accelerate work on USACE projects around the country, by putting Americans back to work and improving water infrastructure while reducing the current backlog. The following table contains the topline numbers for the Bureau of Reclamation and USACE.
The Senate has not released appropriations legislation for water and energy. Earlier in the year the League submitted appropriations requests for $10 million for the Odessa Ground Water Replacement Program. It is possible there will be a continuing resolution to keep funding levels as is for a short period of time.
FY2020 FY2021 FY2021
ENACTED LEVEL PRESIDENT’S REQUEST HOUSE PROPOSED APPROPRIATIONS
Bureau of Reclamation $1.68B $1.1B $1.66B
Water & Related Resources $1.5B $979M $502M
WaterSMART $55M $18.2M $300M
USACE $7.7B $6B $7.63B
Construction $2.681B $2.71B $2.6B
Partnerships * $250M *
USACE COVID-19 Response * * $17B
Investigations * * $110B
Construction * * $10B
Operation and Maintenance * * $5B