Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Mr. Speaker, today's much-anticipated and greatly needed water resources bill will allow our Nation to develop and maintain our economically vital ports and waterways and will support flood protection and environmental restoration efforts.
As a water-centered State, Florida is uniquely impacted by the Water Resources Reform and Development Act. We have 16 seaports which contributed $96.6 billion to the economy last year, and our maritime cargo industry supports more than 680,000 jobs.
Florida has invested millions in our ports in preparation for the expansion of the Panama Canal, and this bill before us today is a complement to Florida's investment in world-class maritime infrastructure. Without this bill, Florida and, indeed, our Nation, as a whole, are at risk of losing jobs to nearby foreign ports and their ready or soon-to-be ready deep draft harbors.
Simply put, this bipartisan water resources bill will create good American jobs and will grow local economies. Let's pass it, Mr. Speaker.