Senate to Pass Bipartisan Water Infrastructure Legislation
‘Dams and levees. Flood control for our communities. Safe drinking water. Sewer systems in communities big and small. The bill before us addresses real needs in my state and across America. I hope each of my colleagues will join me in voting to advance America’s Water Infrastructure Act later today.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding America’s Water Infrastructure Act:
“Earlier this year, the president challenged us to seriously address our nation’s crumbling infrastructure. In Congress, we’ve wasted no time on working to tackle this challenge in a bipartisan way. Here are just a few highlights.
“The funding bill for fiscal year 2018 included a $21 billion increase in infrastructure funding. We continued to build on that significant commitment in our historic return to a regular appropriations process for fiscal 2019. Just last week, we passed the longest FAA reauthorization in more than three decades -- on an overwhelmingly bipartisan basis. And this week, we have the chance to keep the momentum going and advance another major victory for American infrastructure by passing America’s Water Infrastructure Act.
“Chairman Barrasso and Ranking Member Carper deserve a lot of credit for getting this important, bipartisan legislation across the finish line. Its importance -- for every state in our nation -- really cannot be overstated. America’s ports and inland waterways give our producers access to markets around the world. More than 60 percent of our grain exports, for example, move through our inland waterways. So do other commodities such as fuel, coal, and agricultural inputs.
“No wonder the American Farm Bureau Federation wrote the Senate, explaining that this legislation -- quote – ‘will put America’s inland waterways and port infrastructure on a solid and sustainable foundation to contribute to U.S. economic growth, jobs and global competitiveness for generations to come.’ This legislation covers big projects, like deepening ports and ensuring the navigability of inland waterways.
“But it also focuses on the unique challenges our local communities face. It will help ensure access to functioning sewer systems and clean drinking water. On this last point, there’s good reason why the Chairman of the EPW Committee calls this legislation ‘the most significant drinking water infrastructure bill in decades.’ And when you look at its contents, it’s hard to reach any other conclusion. There is more support for our rural communities as they grapple with aging water, sewer, and flood control infrastructure. The legislation includes Senator Boozman’s SRF-WIN Act, which puts low-interest financing within reach for small to mid-sized rural communities, like those in my home state of Kentucky.
“And, for the first time in over 20 years, this legislation re-authorizes federal funding to states to help ensure the safety of our drinking water. The legislation also addresses environmental protection. To name just one example, it includes an important effort championed by Senator Rubio and Governor Scott to help address harmful algal blooms that have plagued Florida’s waterways.
“These are just a few of the significant accomplishments this legislation secures. Dams and levees. Flood control for our communities. Safe drinking water. Sewer systems in communities big and small. The bill before us addresses real needs in my state and across America. I hope each of my colleagues will join me in voting to advance America’s Water Infrastructure Act later today.”
Related Issues: Infrastructure