|Locks and Dam 52 and 53 Replacement Project|
In addition to the en bloc amendments, the manager's amendment from the Chairwoman and Ranking Member also included several minor changes to the introduced bill. A summary posted on the Committee meeting web site states that the manager's amendment:
- Establishes an independent commission to recommend Corps of Engineers projects for deauthorization
- Adds additional project modifications
- Clarifies that port prioritization criteria apply once full expenditure of the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund is achieved
- Clarifies the eligibility for projects financed through the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act pilot program
- Makes additional technical changes to the bill
The issue of a Congressional block on earmarks may be an impediment to gaining House consensus on the bill, or even of crafting a House T&I Committee WRDA bill that is closely compatible with the version that the Senate Committee just passed. Past WRDA bills would typically name and authorize funding for numerous, specific projects, a project designation meeting the Congressional definition of an "earmark" ("congressional earmark" - House Rule XXI, Clause 9(a)). Since the last WRDA bill was passed, the House has placed a ban on earmarks; a ban that would largely put a stop to the past WRDA authorization process. That earmark ban would necessitate changes to WRDA that provide a mechanism for identifying and prioritizing funding for needed water resource projects, while not specifically naming projects. Sen. Boxer has consistently stressed the point that the Senate's bill would successfully address the issue of Congressional earmark restrictions. House T&I Committee Chair Bill Shuster has said that he can't see WRDA being easily crafted with the Congressional block on earmarks in place.