President Obama is expected to sign the $12.3 billion Water Resources Reform and Development Act, the first water bill in seven years and what some say will be the last big legislative accomplishment of the 113th Congress.
The bill is “very important to recreational boating because it authorizes spending for the dredging projects done by the Army Corps of Engineers,” said Larry Innis, legislative affairs representative in Washington for the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas.
It includes funds for the dredging of small boat harbors and channels in the Great Lakes, Innis said.
“I think WRRDA is one of the most important bills,” Innis told Trade Only Today. “Dredging and access to the water are very important for anglers and recreational boaters and sailors.”
Obama could sign the bill early next week after Congress reconvenes, according to a Politico report.
The bill passed the House by a 412-4 vote. The Senate approved it by a vote of 91-7.
A water resources bill was last enacted in 2007; the new measure contains many important legislative priorities for boaters, including funding for dredging and critical infrastructure projects, the National Marine Manufacturers Association said.
Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa., chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Sen. David Vitter, R-La., EPW Committee ranking member and Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., Transportation Committee ranking member, issued the following statement on the bipartisan bicameral agreement:
“We are proud to deliver what the American public wants and needs. This conference report maintains ports and navigation routes for commerce and the movement of goods, provides flood control that protects lives and property and restores vital ecosystems to preserve our natural heritage. This important measure will strengthen our nation’s infrastructure and keep America competitive in the global marketplace.”