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House approves water-projects bill

The bill would approve critical funding improvements and upkeep for the nation’s waterways and harbors.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Water Resources Development Act, also known as the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act, on Thursday night.

The National Marine Manufacturers Association said it has worked with Congress to educate lawmakers about the importance of the WRDA to recreational boating.

The bill would approve critical funding improvements and upkeep for the nation’s waterways and harbors and includes ecosystem, dredging, flood control and navigation programs. The bill will now be up for consideration in the Senate.

The WRDA contains a provision allowing for the transfer of additional water from Northern California to the state’s Central Valley, which the NMMA says is critical to California fisheries. That provision has been a source of disagreement among lawmakers, and some Senate Democrats oppose it.

The House also took final action Thursday on a continuing resolution that funds the government into April. That resolution is also now in the hands of the Senate.

The NMMA expects the Senate to vote on the WRDA during the next 24 hours; senators also must vote on the continuing resolution by the end of the day today or the government will shut down. With the House now out for the year, the Senate must pass the version of the continuing resolution sent to it without changes, the NMMA said.

If Congress fails to reach a deal, not only will many services be suspended, but access to national parks and other government waterways will also be put on hold until a funding agreement can be reached, the NMMA said.

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