Lawmakers release WRRDA conference report

By Sara Wyant
© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

WASHINGTON, May 15, 2014 - After announcing an agreement last week, House and Senate negotiators released details of the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA). The far-reaching legislation would authorize projects aimed at fixing ailing locks and dams, improving ports and waterways, restoring damaged ecosystems, and creating an estimated 500,000 new jobs.

Votes are expected on the conference report to H.R. 3080 as early as next week when both chambers are back in Washington. The House is in recess this week.

Both the House and Senate bills considered in conference enjoyed wide-bipartisan support when they were passed. The Senate approved its $12.5 billion version almost a year ago and the House followed suit with its $8.2 billion bill in October.

Several agricultural groups and the Waterways Council expressed support for the conference report - even though many were still digging through the details.

“From what we've seen so far, we are very pleased,” noted Andrew Walmsley, director of congressional relations for the American Farm Bureau Federation.

“This is a huge step forward to ensure the continued success of the soybean supply chain, and leaders in both the House and Senate deserve a great deal of credit for shepherding this bill through a challenging policymaking climate,” said American Soybean Association President and Iowa farmer Ray Gaesser.

The National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) commended the WRRDA conference committee for completing work on this crucial legislation. “Recent rail service disruptions have magnified and reinforced the importance of the United States having an "all-of-the-above" transportation infrastructure policy that focuses on all modes - truck, rail, barge and vessel,” said NGFA President Randy Gordon.

To read the complete article, click here.

Highlights of the bill are available here.