Westerman Opening Statement from 2020 Water Resources Development Act Markup

July 15, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) gave an opening statement at the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee markup of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2020. His full remarks, as prepared:

“Mr. Chairman, H.R. 7575, the Water Resources Development Act of 2020, builds upon the successes of WRRDA 2014, WRDA 2016 and WRDA 2018 – three important policy, project and reform-focused pieces of legislation for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. And these reforms are clearly having an effect if you just look at how many projects we are authorizing in this bill. 

“With over 35 project authorizations right now, and more likely in the next couple months, we could easily surpass the amount authorized in WRRDA 2014, which had a seven-year gap. H.R. 7575 is a bipartisan bill that was developed by working across the aisle to achieve the common and vital goal of investing in America’s future competitiveness. H.R. 7575 strengthens our water transportation networks to promote prosperity and economic growth.

“Importantly, this bill is the fourth WRDA in eight years, continuing the important business of enacting a WRDA bill every two years without conceding any congressional authority to the executive branch. It also represents the good work that can be accomplished when we work together across the aisle to advance shared concerns and goals.

“The Committee held numerous roundtables and hearings with public and private stakeholders in developing this legislation. A common theme from these meetings has been improving the project delivery and reducing the risk that communities face from flood events. Over the past several years, my state and district, like so many, have experienced severe flooding. This bill gives the Corps the tools to help communities build back quicker and stronger. I believe this legislation contains key provisions that will do just that.

“This bill will:

  • Adjust the cost share for projects constructed on the Inland Waterways System to ensure expedited completion of ongoing and future projects;
  • Provide streamlined construction authority for communities that experience repetitive flood loss;
  • Support long term, resilient and nature-based solutions to keep our communities safe from future flood events;
  • Advance the long-stalled MKARNS deepening project, and protect the water supply for users of Ouachita-Black System in my state of Arkansas;
  • And support our rural communities and levee districts as they partner with the Corps to keep their communities protected.

“I appreciate Chairman DeFazio and Chairwoman Napolitano’s bipartisan work to address a vital need for America’s water resources infrastructure. I urge all members to support H.R. 7575.”

Click here to watch the full committee markup.