Friday, April 12, 2013

Schedules for Congressional Activity on Major Water-Associated Legislation Slip

Water Resources Development Act
The Senate's attention turned decidedly toward gun control this week, and the rumored floor activity on the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) failed to materialize.  Senate floor action on the bill that passed out of the Environment and Public Works Committee in March has yet to be scheduled by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV).  Since Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) have yet to reach agreement laying out gun debate conditions, that floor action could take up considerable floor time, and push Senate WRDA action into May.  On the House side, the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee has scheduled its first formal hearing on WRDA for next Tuesday (April 16) after having held a "roundtable" on Army Corps inland waterways' issues this week.

Farm Bill
Both the the Senate and House Agriculture Committees have expressed a strong desire to hold Farm Bill mark-up sessions this month.  However, a more realistic target for work in both committees is May, especially in light of this past Monday’s presentation to Congress of newly revised Farm Bureau Federation Farm Bill proposal (PDF file copy available here), which the committees are now taking under consideration.  Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Collin Peterson (D-MN) has indicated that the Committee may mark up a House bill as early as the week of May 6, possibly preceding any action in the Senate Committee.

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