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Public Statements

WRDA Amendments

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. COBURN. Mr. President, we are still in morning business, and I will speak in morning business about two amendments I will call up when we leave morning business. One is amendment No. 815 on this bill, which is aimed at lessening State dependence on the Federal Government.

We have now, over the period of 50 years, helped with beach nourishment. In this bill is a section that extends from 50 to 65 years of government subsidization of beach nourishment. Really, if we look at the section, we see it is targeted toward a few States because they are running into the 50-year deadline. So all the amendment does is block it from going from 50 to 65 years.

The Clinton administration, the Bush administration, the Obama administration, the Obama fiscal commission, all recommended eliminating the Federal subsidization of beach nourishment projects. So we have great bipartisan leadership on both sides of the aisle to bring this back, put back to the States what is truly a State responsibility.

What we are doing in this bill is furthering the dependence of States for beach nourishment projects on the Federal Government. So I will call up that amendment.

The next amendment is amendment No. 816. This committee has done a great job in setting up a review board that can eliminate authorized projects that no longer make sense, but they have limited what they can look at. They are not letting them look at the whole of water resources projects; therefore, they limit those projects. All we are saying with this amendment is we ought to reopen it.

One of the criticisms of this amendment is that a project may be in the midst of completion and the review board might say we should eliminate it. It doesn't mean we will eliminate it because in the wisdom of the committee, they gave the opportunity for Congress to disallow any of this.

So I think what the committee has done is a great step forward in getting rid of projects that are no longer apropos to whatever the needs are: But my question is, Why did they limit it to such a narrow package when, in fact, they want this outside input to help guide us on what we should do?

So at the appropriate time, when we are out of morning business, I will call up those amendments. I will not speak further on them; I will just call them up so we can move ahead with the bill.

I see the chairman of the committee is here. Good morning to her, and I yield the floor.


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