Monday, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) applauded the Senate's 79-14 vote to override President Bush's veto of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), which authorizes America's essential flood control, navigation, and ecosystem restoration projects in a way that is fiscally responsible and technically sound. The vote in the Senate follows Tuesday night's vote in the House of Representatives of 361-54. With the Senate and House voting to override the president's veto, the bill now becomes law.
This is the first time WRDA has been reauthorized since 2000. The bipartisan legislation includes a permanent extension of an important Army Corps of Engineers authority that allows the Corps to expedite the permitting process for local infrastructure development, reauthorizes projects to improve inland waterways and ports, water quality and storage, and begin necessary environmental remediation and watershed planning throughout the United States.
"In overriding the president's veto, Congress is making sure that help gets to Washington state's waterways, ports, and Northwest ecosystems," said Cantwell. "Washington's farmers, in particular, need the help contained in this bill because they depend on easy transportation of their crops along the Columbia River. The much-needed improvements to vital infrastructure and projects contained in this bill will grow our economy and strengthen our environment."
Earlier this year, Cantwell wrote several times to the Environment and Public Works Committee with Senator Patty Murray to encourage members to retain the projects that had been secured for Washington state in the version of the bill passed by the Senate last year. They also asked the Committee to include additional projects in this year's legislation, including the Elliot Bay Seawall and the Ilwaco siltation study.
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