AGRIBUSINESS: House Passes WRRDA
The 2013 Water Resources Reform and Development Act or WRRDA has finally passed the House of Representatives, with a vote of 417 to three. The Senate passed the bill earlier this year – and the White House endorsed the bill while noting some revisions. The American Farm Bureau Federation and American Soybean Association are pleased with the House for passing this legislation. AFBF President Bob Stallman says having an efficient, reliable inland waterway system linked to competitive ports is vital to America’s ability to provide affordable farm products in the U.S. and to compete in the global marketplace.
Soy Transportation Coalition Executive director, Mike Steenhoek says this passing is something of a surprise as members of Congress have a hard time agreeing. He said, “here you have a strong bipartisan bill that has passed out of the House of Representatives and you have a similar piece of legislation pass out of the Senate in May and it really just underscores the fact that Congress does see the value of the inland waterway system.”
Now that it’s passed both chambers, Steenhoek says a final WRRDA bill crossing the President’s desk by year’s end isn’t unlikely. Unfortunately, repairing the U.S. waterways infrastructure requires two steps: authorization through a new WRRDA bill, and funding through an appropriations bill. Steenhoek says past WRRDA bills have failed at the appropriations step, and that while the current budget climate may prove to be an obstacle, he remains optimistic.