tv U.S. House of Representatives Legislative Business CSPAN September 27, 2016 4:00pm-6:01pm EDT
problems by kicking people when they're down. now representative adrian smith's bill would stop this. government shouldn't be in the business of taxing people when they lose their insurance especially when the co-op they use failed. nothing less than replacing obamacare will stop all the havoc. -- in the meantime we have the obligation to offer relief to the people hurt by this law. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from michigan. the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from nebraska. >> thank you, mr. speaker. i now yield three minutes to my colleague from the energy and commerce committee, mrs. blackburn. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady from tennessee is recognized for three minutes. mrs. blackburn: i want to thank the gentleman for yielding and for his work on this issue. i think we have to go back in history a little bit on this. obamacare was passed into law,
signed into law in 2010. a part of that law that, by the way, we had to wait until it passed, so we could read it and find out what all was in it, established this co-op program. and the way the law was written, it allowed c.m.s. and -- to go in and put in a place the terms of the loans -- in place the terms of the loans for the co-op program. now, our colleague from washington said it was fault of congress. i want to remind you, we did not do the loan terms that have been so onerous. that was done through the rulemaking process by c.m.s. and the way they set this up put the co-ops at a disadvantage from the start. as a result of this, we are seeing these planned failures. this is a mandate that is
crumbling under its own weight. the weight of the mandate coupled with the way c.m.s. has handled the terms of these loans. now, the energy and commerce committee, where i serve as vice chair, has released a report earlier this month looking at the failures of these co-ops. and the investigation that we have had on this, and the report review -- revealed c.m.s.'s mismanagement of this program. closures of these co-ops have left consumers scrambling for health insurance. it gives them fewer options, it provides them with less affordable choices. so the affordable care act becomes unaffordable for millions of americans. eight million of that 20 million had insurance from their employer, they were
perfectly happy. all of a sudden they're thrown into a program and now the insured goes out of business. fewer choices. and fewer things -- even in my state of tuberculosis -- tennessee. our insurance commissioner testified before the energy and commerce committee about the burdens of co-ops and the failures that it has brought about on our state regulators and our communities. tennessee's co-op, the community health alliance mutual insurance company, failed approximately 27,000 tennesseans. they were all forced to find new plans. only six of the original 23 co-ops remain. i will tell my colleagues, this is what you call a false hope. it did not work. it made the situation worse. a recent h.h.s.-o.i.g. report
found that the remaining co-ops are becoming -- mr. smith: i yield an additional one minute. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady is recognized for an additional one minute. mrs. blackburn: thank you, mr. speaker. the additional co-ops that remain, those that were covered in this h.h.s.-o.i.g. report, are becoming unstable, financially insolvent, they are looking as if they too are going to go the way of the others that have failed. not only does the failure of co-ops waste tax dollars, it leaves individuals in the lurch. i am pleased that this legislation is coming before us . it implements our committee's recommendation by insuring that individuals -- ensuring that individuals who make a good-faith effort to comply with the individual mandate are not further punished as a result of a co-op's failure. i yield back.
the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from michigan. mr. levin: i yield myself one minute. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. levin: as we've outlined,eded a -- the administration has -- outlined, the administration has likewise, there are provisions when policies are interrupted, whether it's co-ops or otherwise, in the law. for people to take advantage of. in the law that you want to destroy. let me just mention, in terms of nebraska, there are 45,000 people in nebraska who are not covered by medicaid because of the failure of the government .here to access and in tennessee there are 180,000 people. 180,000. you talk about hopes. those are people who had hopes and government essentially thumbed their nose at those
hopes. to the gentleman from oregon, a distinguished member of our committee, as much time as he shall consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from oregon is recognized for as much time as he may consume. mr. blumenauer: thank you, mr. levin. i appreciate your courtesy and i appreciate your focus on the challenges inherent with the legislation we have before us. if people want to understand why we are having problems under the affordable care act, this is a great example. every single major piece of legislation, to my knowledge, landmark legislation, has required fine tuning and modification. that has generally been the spirit where people in both parties move forward to try and deal with occasional oversights, areas to improve,
mistakes, and opportunities to make it better. what we have seen for six years under the affordable care act, there's been an entirely different mindset. it was to try and make it worse. it was to try and undercut it. i think my count is this is the 65th time there's been an attempt to repeal all or part of the affordable care act. and the pretty stark what this has produced. we have, and the unassailable , the lowest uninsured rate in america right now. in fact, some of the 19 states that have refused the expansion of medicaid under the affordable care act, even there has been a reduction, because of the availability of subsidies to help make it affordable. and the insurance policies that people have are fundamentally better.
you can no longer deny coverage for pre-existing claims. i thought at the time that members of congress should have declared a conflict of interest. because i think virtually all of us would have been subjected to problems getting insurance if they were denied on the basis of pre-existing conditions, rather, is what i meant to say. what we've seen from the outset is that people refused, during the legislative process itself, to be able to have the give and take of a conference committee. and because republicans refused to legislate, it had to be adopted under the reconciliation process. and then for six consecutive years, no refinement, no adjustment, just steadily chipping away. now, i've got a couple of co-ops in my district. those were an interesting
addition to try and add some additional competition in a model that would not be for-profit insurance. they were given, under the existing legislation, access to a risk court, to try and even out premiums. because we knew it would be impossible with all of the moving pieces for people to be able to very precisely determine exactly what the rates should be and so there was some give. there was some adjustment for the risk, to be able to have additional resources for people who hadn't quite got continue right. that was envisioned under the initial act. it was something that insurance companies in oregon thought that congress would keep its word. they planned accordingly. unfortunately the senator from florida -- the junior senator
from florida, mr. rubio, in the 2014 omnibus, stripped out that language. it really didn't get the attention that it deserved at the time. that was a huge piece of legislation that was rumbling through, pressed for time and not given the real authoritative give and take and atext that it deserved -- attention that it deserved. but that took away money that those people had been promised, that they needed, and were depending on. so we precipitated a crisis like we've seen with other areas with attacking the affordable care act. we see the 19 states that have refused medicare expansion under a relatively tortured interpretation of the supreme court, nobody that i know of, when we were voting on the affordable care act, thought that states would be able to
voluntarily deny health care to people who were too poor to qualify for the subsidies. but amazingly 19 states have done that. and that is another area of instability that has posed problems with insurance markets. and states that actually did expand have seen less of the upheaval. it brings us to today. where people are chipping away again in this effort, with a piece of legislation that's absolutely unnecessary to repeal part of the individual mandate. the individual mandate, by the way, was put in the affordable care act as part of an effort to forge a bipartisan solution. bear in mind the mandate that people purchase insurance was not a democratic idea.
it was something that was part of the republican alternative to hillarycare in the early 1990's. well -- but it makes sense to have a mandate, so that these burdens are shared broadly and everybody benefits. there's no reason to get rid of the individual mandate. these people who are in a failed co-op already have -- because under current law if you have a plan that closed midyear, you're already allowed a special enrollment period to choose new coverage. and if there are any individuals for whom coverage is unaffordable or they experience a hardship, they may qualify for an existing exemption from the individual responsibility provision. so this is already taken care of under existing law. what it is doing is continuing
this effort to chip away, to undermine, to repeal. i hope that we get past this notion that we're going to continue to make this the primary republican alternative for health care, it's just trying to attack something that is working. and if they would cooperate, if they would refine, if they would try and solve problems rather than creating new ones, we could make it work even better. mr. speaker, i'm voting against this piece of -- i don't know what to call it. it's not going to be enacted into law. it shouldn't be enacted into law. tanned represents an empty exercise -- and it represents an empty exercise of stalling and attacking instead of refining and improving. the american people deserve better. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from michigan reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from nebraska.
mr. smith: i reserve. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from michigan. mr. levin: are you ready to close? i'll close. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. levin: you know, the case has been so carefully and fully laid out. this is another effort to cut and to destroy. this is now maybe not the thousandth cut, but the 65th. fortunately none has succeeded. nor will this. republicans come here and indicate some care about individuals in terms of the health care. i just say this, personally, and all of us who care about health care have the same feelings, this country had a
disgraceful situation. 50 million people going to sleep every night without any health care coverage. democrats took the initiative and we now have the lowest percentage of uninsured in terms of the records of this country. . and all we get are bills from the republicans, one cut effort after another, and this is the latest. maybe that's a good reason for us to leave here because otherwise we'll see, i'm sure, another one. the a.c.a. is very clear for people who lose their coverage during a coverage period. there is a provision, a special ovision for them to obtain
coverage elsewhere, and there is a hardship provision if that is not obtainable, if that is not available. and we've been waiting to have specific examples. they never come. they never come. and as i said to the gentleman, and i said this respectfully, if you really care about the citizens in your state and their health care, you'll go back to your state and tell the leadership there, it's time to expand medicaid for those people because in your state, there are tens of thousands of people who don't have that coverage today because of the inaction or the opposition of republican jorts in states and in this -- majorities in states
and in this congress. that's what this is all about, nd so i urgently suggest for our fellow democrats and i hope a few enlightened republicans to vote no. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from nebraska. mr. smith: mr. speaker, we need a health care plan that involves patients and their providers. we need a health care plan and health care coverage, insurance, if you will, that is a product that is purchased by millions of americans on its own merit not because of the heavy hand of the federal government imposing fines and penalties even upon those americans who are doing everything they were supposed to be doing to be responsible citizens taking care of themselves. what is clear from the debate today, mr. speaker, is that in the face of the failures of the a.c.a. or obamacare, whichever
label you might wish to attach to it, the failures -- there are certainly many failures of the plan. the administration and my colleagues across the aisle continue to advocate for the individual mandates at all cost no matter negatively it mayim pact a law-abiding individual seek -- impact a law-abiding individual. mr. speaker, during the markup of this bill in committee, a supporter on the committee referred to the law as a, quote-unquote, work in progress. now, i would say that's a generous description of the law, but if if is truly a work in progress, why would we penalize americans through no fault of their own for losing coverage with fines that run hundreds if not thousands of dollars? we are pe cystently told that our -- we are persistently told
that we have no plan to improve the health care system. this bill is one small way to improve the health care system. in fact, it's interesting that this bill is being characterized as an effort to undermine the a.c.a. is that how weak the a.c.a. is that a small narrowly crafted bill like this would undermine the entire thing? i doubt it. this is a small effort here to help innocent americans who lost coverage through no fault of their own. we should not penalize them and create a financial hardship additionally for them that they've already been experiencing. i urge all of my colleagues to join me in providing this small issue of fairness, and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. all time for debate has expired. pursuant to house resolution 893, the previous question is ordered on the bill, as
amended. the question is on engrossment and third reading of the bill. all those in favor say aye. all those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it. third reading. the clerk: a bill to amend the internal revenue code of 1986 to exempt from the individual mandate certain individuals who have coverage under a terminated qualified health care funded through the consumer operated and oriented plan, co-op, program. the speaker pro tempore: the question is on passage of the bill. all those in favor say aye. all those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it. mr. levin: i ask for a recorded vote. the speaker pro tempore: a recorded vote is requested. a sufficient number having arisen, a recorded vote is ordered. members will record their votes by electronic device. this will be a 15-minute vote. [captioning made possible by the national captioning institute, inc., in cooperation with the united states house of representatives. any use of the closed-captioned coverage of the house proceedings for political or commercial purposes is expressly prohibited by the u.s. house of representatives.]
for what purpose does the gentleman from pennsylvania seek recognition? >> mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent that all members may have five legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and include extraneous materials on h.r. 5303. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. pursuant to house resolution 892 and rule 18, the chair declares the house in the committee of the whole house on the state of the union for the consideration of h.r. 5303. the chair appoints the gentleman from idaho, mr. simpson, to preside over the ommittee of the whole. the chair: the house is in the committee of the whole house on the state of the union for the consideration of h.r. 5303 which the clerk will report by title. the clerk: a bill to provide for improvements to the rivers and harbors of the united states, to provide for the
conservation and development of water and related resources, and for other purposes. the chair: pursuant to the rule, the bill is considered as read the first time. the gentleman from pennsylvania, mr. shuster, and the gentleman from oregon, mr. defazio, each will control 30 minutes. he house will be in order. the house will be in order. members, please remove onversations from the floor. the chair recognizes the gentleman from pennsylvania, mr. shuster. mr. shuster: thank you, mr. chairman. i yield myself such time as i may consume. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. shuster: mr. chairman, i rise today in support of h.r. 5303, the water resources development act of 2016.
subcommittee chairman gibbs and i worked closely with ranking member defazio and napolitano on this vital water infrastructure bill. thanks to their hard work, the trmings and infrastructure committee unanimously -- the transportation and infrastructure committee unanimously aroffed this in may. we tailored wrrda, 2016, to specific responsibilities -- strengthening our infrastructure through the activities of the army corps of engineers to grow the economy. this legislation follows important reforms congress put in place in 2014. with water resources reform and development act. without those reforms, we wouldn't be here today to consider another wrrda bill. the 2014 bill and today's legislation restore regular order and the two-year cycle of congress considering these essential bills. this has been one of my highest priorities as chairman, and i'm pleased today in this congress as in the last congress we have a wrrda bill on the floor. wrrda 2016 maintains congressional authority and
oversight, ensuring we have a face -- safe infrastructure system. project, every corps connelly established criteria and presented to congress in the form of chiefs reports and the corps' new annual report. only proposal to follow this process were eligible for inclusion in this bill. if the manager's amendment is adopted, it will have 29 feasibility studies. each chief's report was reviewed by the committee and public hearing. these are critical regional priorities that provide significant, national, economic and environmental benefits. for example, the wrda updates the dashfield, montgomery, the e.d.m. locks and dams. the e.d.m. facilities has the port of pittsburgh, one of the busiest inland port. it will provide enormous benefits to the region and make our entire region more
competitive. the same can be said for authorizations for the port of charleston, the port of everglades which has been under review by for 18 years and finally being approved. and flooding around sacramento and more. it removes barriers for locals and nonfederal interests to invest in their infrastructure. factoring in the manager's amendment, worda will cover $9 billion to our ports, channels, locks, dams and other infrastructure. these investments are fully offset. i repeat. they're fully offset with the authorizations that the bill sunsets new authorizations to help prevent future project backlogs. wrrda has no earmarks and -- wrda has no earmarks and abides all the house rules. one section of the bill was reported by the committee was removed. now, i want to say i agree with my -- the ranking member, mr. defazio. the user fees paid into the
harbor maintnant trust fund should be used to pay our infrastructure system. if you pay a user fee, it should go to the intended purposes. however, we found ourselves in a position where section 108 conflicted with house rules. we worked to find another resolution to this one issue but were unable to do so within the rules of the house. i appreciate the ranking member's passion for this provision and thank him for his tireless efforts and smor of infrastructure investment. i want to continue working with him and others to find a solution that will work with the senate. however, we cannot lose sight of the larger, more important issues. don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good. this bill is not perfect but it is a good bill. only three wrda bills were enacted between 2000 and 2014 and that record is really unacceptable. each delay placed americans another step behind our competitors. we simply cannot afford more delays. we must pass this jobs and infrastructure bill and return to the regular two-year wrda cycle to keep the army corps
focused. we must not not delay because of one issue. we have a wide range of stakeholder interest in this bill. 75 letters of support for wrda 2016 include the national association of manufacturers, national chamber, national retail association and more local groups. wrda 2016 is good public policy. this bill advances critical water resources infrastructure improvements, restores regular order and gets congress back on that two-year wrda cycle. i urge my cligse to support this bill -- colleagues to support this bill and i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from oregon. mr. defazio: i yield myself such time as i may consume. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. defazio: well, the committee does have a great from a digs of bipartisanship. it's hard to get partisan about our crumbling infrastructure and the needs for enhanced investment. but one of the keys toward enhancing the investment in
dealing with the $68 billion, b, billion-dollar backlog of authorized corps projects, $68 billion, is to use a tax, which is collected from shippers and passed onto the american people. every day you buy a good from a foreign country, you're paying a little bit more for that under an agreement that the money collected will be used to maintain our harbors, our ports, keep from coming in. unfortunately for years congress has been diverting part of that money every year. today there is a theoretical balance of over $9 billion in the nonexistent harbor maintenance trust fund. look through the entire budget in the united states. you won't find that money anywhere on deposit but they're saying, don't worry. don't worry. we'll get around to spending it someday. i have been working on this issue for 20 years starting
with bud shuster in 1996. it was in the bill and it passed out of committee unanimously with a number -- with republicans and democrats supporting it, obviously, a majority of the republicans on the bill. the chairman and i had an agreement that would bring this bill forward under suspension of the rules. his leadership objected to that, and then instead they dictated there should be a rule so they could strip out the harbor maintenance trust fund. now, what kind of rule is it that says we passed a law, we're collecting money from the american people every day, they're paying a little bit more for stuff but the rules say we can't spend that money for purpose, we will spend it on some other part of government or disappear it into a lossery deficit reduction? we need that money. we need those investments. and if this continues, right now it's about $400 million a year that's being collected that isn't being spent yet we have jeties that are failing
all across america, it will grow up to $20 billion in 10. now, tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow we're going to fix this problem. no. this was the time to fwicks it. it was in the bill -- this was the time to fix it. it was in the bill. it was unanimous. it was stripped out. that's very, very unfortunate. there are very good things in this bill. there are many projects that are essential but, again, the corps of engineers has a $68 billion backlog so all we're doing is putting people in an endless line. $68 billion backlog. we're collecting about $1,6,000,000 a year to make those projects a reality except $400 million, $500 million of it is by diverted into other parts of the government. that is not a good way to run the government like a business. i have a letter from the chamber of commerce of the united states of america concerned that this money is revenue from american business
is not being used for its intended purpose in a timely manner and they'll continue to advocate for this provision, among others. so i'm very saddened this was removed from the bill. it is not in the senate bill. it is nonconferenceable. that is another two years. taxes will still be collected from the american people. secondly, we made a big deal around here about not having any earmarks. big deal. well, there are some like ancient earmarks out there still lingering in the darkness. one was for a $220 million project which was earmarked in 2004 by the appropriations committee, but this bill -- and that would require the federal government to spend $110 million. this bill authorizes that $526,500 a price of
to the u.s. taxpayers. it's gone from $110 million to a total project cost of $800 million. now, associated with that -- i'm being told, don't worry. this isn't federal money. whenever you enter into a project, you have to have a local cost share, and they're saying, well, it will only be local money except it's included in the project. meaning, the local entity isn't meeting its cost share for the authorized project, which is in this bill. they in fact -- they are diverting money locally from their cost share into recreation projects. now, we have harbors silting in. jeties that are falling apart all across the country. we're diverting money from the trust fund and somehow we'll find $500 million for this project up from a price tag of
$ 110 million when it was first earmarked. it's covered by the rule and it's in this bill. so i regret that this bill does not meet the high standards of the committee and the historical standards of the committee and with that i eserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman from pennsylvania. mr. shuster: i recognize the chairman of the subcommittee, mr. gibbs for two minutes. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. gibbs: thanks for yielding water for restoring the resources development act. i rise in strong support of the water resources development act of 2016. by considering wrda today we are returning to regular order and approving water infrastructure projects critical, transportation and infrastructure is one of
congress' most important responsibilities. this authorizes funding, creating jobs at home and contributing to our economy. as chairman of the subcommittee our jurisdiction includes the water infrastructure projects rried out by the u.s. army corps of engineers. it contains corps projects for purposes of flood, navigation, hydroelectric power, water supply, environmental protection and fish and wildlife management. each project authorization was proposed by local non-federal sponsors. each was recommended to congress by the corps chief of engineers. this is a bottom-up grassroots riven process. h.r. 530 strengthens the
reforms by streamlining and permitting for infrastructure projects. passed h.r. 5303 contains project authorization and we discussed the chief's reports in-depth and provide strong oversight of the proposed projects. this bill expedites studies to help local needs and study authorization for 29 future potential corps projects. they are delayed by study after study. because of the reforms in wrda in 2014, the 29 feasibility studies are not intended to exceed three years in duration or $3 million in federal costs. we have reformed the process to save taxpayers time and money. this bill is fiscally responsible. h.r. 5 0 ects are contains no earmarks and
increased transparency for non-federal sponsors. this is a good bill and i urge support of this bill and i yield back. the chair: the gentleman from oregon. mr. defazio: i yield three minutes to the gentlelady from california, the ranking member of the subcommittee of jurisdiction. the chair: the gentlelady is recognized. mrs. napolitano: thank you, mr. defazio. mr. speaker, i am very concerned that after months of bipartisan work on this bill, we are bringing it to the floor today under a partisan procedure where it stripped out in the rules a very important section and also does not address the ongoing crisis of flipt. 100,000 people in flint are living without clean drinking water. one million people in california live without clean drinking water. we should be doing much more to address the drinking water crisis in this country.
we should not have problems with it. and investing in our outdated infrastructure. the senate does include provisions to address this crisis and i had hoped that the house would do as well. i appreciate the work that has been done to add many important provisions to the bill. this includes 1 feasibility studies for projects to study resources projects across the country for a diverse array of purposes, ecosystem restoration, hurricane and storm damage reduction and navigation. this is really important especially in drought-prone areas like california. second, h.r. 5303 authorizes 29 chief's reports currently peppeding before congress. ports include are of great importance to los angeles river, ecosystem, the west sacramento
risk project. and san diego hurricane and storm damage reduction. this is critical because storms are eroding our beaches. i'm pleased to see inclusion that will assist communities. they include, promoting non-federal effort to remove sediment behind dams. this is one project we have been pushing for a long time to get the corps to reduce that sediment. authorizing the secretary of the army to evaluate and implement water supply conservation measures of projects owned and -- or managed by the corps. in the 17 western states, this is critical. encouraging the corps to share the data that the corps cleggets on operation and maintenance of its facilities and to improve coordination with local stakeholders. my understanding is they are going to get the library of
congress to do that. allowing environmental projects to be eligible for the process that authorizes corps projects also creating a pilot program to encourage the use of dredge material or shoreline restoration and environmental use. i'm very confident these provisions, if enacted, will regions, ought-ridden like mine, with the tools necessary to increase water supply and water conservation measures. and better be prepared for future storms. just 10 seconds. mrs. napolitano: i want to thank my constituent water agencies by including them by the upper county lleys and l.a. public works and my local corps
people. i ask for a no vote since the flint provision was not included in this bill. i yield back. the chair: the gentleman from pennsylvania. mr. shuster: i now yield two minutes to the vice chairman of the full committee, mr. duncan. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for two minutes. mr. duncan: i thank the chairman for yielding this time and i commend chairman shuster and chairman gibbs for their outstanding leadership. i rise in support of this jobs and infrastructure legislation. it will help create thousands of jobs and will help improve our infrastructure. i have the privilege of serving as the republican chair of the clean water caucus in this congress and have the privilege of serving for six years as chairman of the water resources and environment subcommittee starting in 2001. so i know full well how important this bill is. this bill provides authorizations needed to improve water transportation all across this nation.
every day, many tons of goods are transported across our waterways. without basic water infrastructure in good shape, most of these goods would be transported on already congested highways. according to the foundation, a 15-barge tow can transport the same amount of goods as 1,0e50 trailers. this is an environmentally sound method of transportation. this bill as others have said a fiscally one. it deauthorizes $10 billion of inactive projects that are no longer needed or feasible which offsets the new authorizations made in this legislation. this bill authorizes important flood control projects that we need to help prevent natural disasters. we saw what happened with katrina. that disaster caused $150 billion in damage. now we have new flooding in
louisiana and texas. we need to make smart investments today so we are not spending billions of dollars after a disaster strikes. i thank chairman shuster for including language on floating homes. and i want to commend representative who led the way on this issue. the board removed privately owned homes from its reservoirs. this would have been a taking without any compensation being offered to the homeowners. the language in this bill mirrors that that would allow the homeowners to keep their houses as long as certain health and safety standards are met. i urge passage of this very important legislation. and i yield back. the chair: the gentleman from regon. mr. defazio: i worked closely with the gentleman from tennessee and does great work.
he did great work in chairing a special committee of the house committee on transportation and infrastructure on improving the nation's freight transportation system. and one of the key recommendations in that report was draw down the $7 billion balance of the harbor maintenance trust fund without adversely affecting other appropriations, programs or other activities carried out by the army corps of engineers. it is dated. there is now $9.8 billion in the harbor maintenance trust fund, which doesn't exist. there is no line item at the treasury. the money is poof, gone. unless we authorize the establishment of a trust fund and begin to better invest in our harbors. with that, i yield to the gentleman from texas.
the chair: the gentleman is recognized for two minutes. mr. green: thank you, mr. speaker and members. i rise in opposition to h.r. 530 the water resource development act. it is usually a vehicle for bipartisan cooperation, but unfortunately that's not the case this year. this is the only time in my 23 years in congress that i'm unable to support wrda. in my area, houston area, we need wrda and flood assistance. but my particular thing with this, i represent a large part of the port of houston and one of the many members that represents a major port, ports are economic engines for growth. the jobs and economic growth including refining and manufacturing that's on the banks of the houston ship channel supported by the port of houston allowed houston to become the energy capital of the world. but this is about more than just the port of houston. this is about america's ports,
from l.a., long beach to new york to miami and new orleans, this is $3 trillion in shipments in these ports. this is meant to fund critical proper jets yet only a fraction of the money is appropriated each year, leaving billions of dollars sitting unused while maintain eanings costs climb around the country. ships are forced to wait for high tides or deeper channels because we do have enough of this money to work for them. we need to ensure we are investing by investing inviteal infrastructure projects. and i urge my colleagues to join me in opposing this legislation until the bipartisan harbor maintenance trust fund is included. and i yield back. the chair: the gentleman from pennsylvania. mr. shuster: i now yield one minute to the former chairman of the full committee, mr. young from alaska. the chair: the gentleman is recognized.
mr. young: i rise to revise and extend. thank mr. shuster, mr. gibbs and mr. defazio. this is a good bill. we are getting close to the end of this session in a lame duck duck. this isn't perfect for e. but let's get a piece of picking. nout nit i don't disagree about the funding. that's something we have to work on with the appropriators because they don't like a set-aside fund for repairing the harbors. this is a good piece of legislation. it will create a better system of our infrastructure. the water harbor and ports and drinking water, too. if a legislative package has been put together with a lot hard work from staff. we get in the middle, we ought
to think this is a house bill that can do the job. it will come out of this house and go over to the senate and we'll have a conference. we have a chance to finish this for the people of america. i'm asking us not to get into the middle of this and let a good piece of legislation like this done. the chair: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from pennsylvania. mr. shuster: i yield a minute to the gentleman from florida, mr. curbelo. mr. curbelo: i rise in strong pport of wrda a critical importance to the health of state of florida. this will increase fresh water flows down into florida bay providing critical relief to our water reservoirs and stressed
ecosystem in florida bay. the health is a moral issue and vital to south florida's multibillion dollars tourism industry making the ress stores an important local issue as well as a major national priority. long-term restoration will be achieved by constructing projects for con veins treatment and storage of water. that contributes to all of these goals. i want to thank chairman shuster r working with me to include $1.9 billion. this comprehensive bill provides the u.s. army corps of engineers to carry out water projects with non-federal sponsors. through bipartisan efforts, we were able to include this much needed funding for evergladse restoration and i look forward to getting this bill signed into law. i yield back.
the gentleman from pennsylvania 1/4 minutes. mr. defazio: i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from pennsylvania. mr. shuster: i now yield two minutes the gentleman from illinois, a member of the committee, mr. davis. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for two minutes. mr. davis: i rise in support of this bill. i'm very proud to be here today because this bill represents a commitment our committee has made under the leadership of chairman shuster to pass critical water resources legislation every two years. one of my top priorities as a member of this committee and the water resources subcommittee is maintaining and improving our navigation infrastructure on the upper mississippi and illinois waterways. most of the locks and dams on the system were built in the 1920's and 1930's and have far outlived their life expectancy. 60% of the grain exported from the united states goes through these locks and dams before hitting the global marketplace, but today delays are frequent
and are only getting worse. lasting as long as 12 hours at a time. in wrda 2007, congress authorized construction of seven new 1,200-foot locks in the upper mississippi and illinois waterway system. yet here we are and the corps still hasn't completed preconstruction engineering and design for these projects because this administration refuses to invest any money in the navigation and ecosystem sustainability program, or nest. that means construction for these projects may not be ready to begin when they are next on the schedule. when these projects are delayed, it cost farmers in my district money. it costs shippers who move commodities up and down the river money. it means increased grocery prices for everyone, and it also costs good-paying construction jobs. during our committee's markup of this legislation in may, i offered an amendment that requires a study analyzing alternative models of managing the inland waterway trust fund.
i appreciate chairman shuster working with me to ensure its adoption. this study to be completed by the comptroller general will provide some important options to address these long standing issues with the corps. and maybe this will finally show the corps waiting 10 or 20 years for movement on a project by -- that is authorized by congress is completely unacceptable. mr. chairman, i'm proud to support this underlying bill, and i want to thank chairman shuster for his and the committee for their leadership on this and i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman from oregon. mr. defazio: at this point i yield myself such time as i may consume. the last few speakers have made a great point, how critical this bill is and they listed projects important to their district and the nation. the gentleman from alaska said we shouldn't quibble over details. well, the bottom line is we have assessed a tax on all imported goods. that tax is collected every
day. it's essentially a sales tax. it's added into the price of the goods that americans buy. hat tax comes in at about $1.6 billion a year, and yet congress sees fit to spend somewhere around $1.1 billion a year. even though the corps of ngineers has a $64 billion, b, backlog. so i guess, you know, at some point 100 years from now -- well, no, because things will keep deteriorating. i guess we'll never catch up. the harbor maint in an trust fund, something i have been working on for 20 years, starting with the chairman -- bud shuster. we keep hearing tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow. tomorrow came. it came out of committee, but because some appropriators and the chair of the budget committee object to using the taxes collected from the american people for the only lawful intended purpose and
instead disappearing it to the federal government it got stripped out of the bill. very, very unfortunate. that means these critical projects you're talking about are going to the back of a very, very, very long line. $64 billion today. pass the bill, another $10 billion. $74 billion tomorrow. it would chip away at it and very, very slowly if we continue to divert the trust funds. with that i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from pennsylvania. mr. shuster: thank you, mr. chairman. i now recognize the gentleman from north carolina, a member of the committee, mr. rouzer, for a minute and a half. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for 90 seconds. mr. rouzer: thank you, mr. chairman. mr. speaker, we have an opportunity to do a great service for the country by the g h.r. 50 -- 5303, wrda 2016 act,. wrda 2016 reasserts congressional authority and oversight on critical infrastructure issues. i commend chairman shuster for
his commitment passing a wrda bill each congress. it helps ensure that america's water infrastructure needs are continually addressed and reaffirms the will of the people on these very important infrastructure matters. substantively, this bill addresses the needs of america's harbors, locks, dams, coastlines and other water resource infrastructure projects by authorizing army corps of engineers. it will continue a flow of commerce through our nation's ports and channels. moreover, this bill also includes preventative measures that will help serve and protect our infrastructure. along with these obvious benefits, wrda 2016 is also fiscally responsible and fully offset. in fact, failing to pass this critical piece of legislation will cost the treasury that much more. mr. speaker, the time to pass this bill is now, and i urge my colleagues to support this very important legislation. i yield back my time. the chair: the gentleman from
oregon. mr. defazio: at this point, i recognize my good friend, the entlelady from ohio for such time as she might name. i may reclaim it if she goes too long. the chair: the gentlelady from ohio is recognized for such time. r. kaptur: i want to thank mr. defazio and rise in a colloquy. the great lakes, the superhighway, a passageway for our nation. when the wrda bill was considered by the senate, an important reference was included in that bill recognizing the role of the seaway in u.s.-canadian maritime trade as well as global commerce from the heartland. had a study to expand tourism and mod rnize a transportation network and a secure operational system. as the bill moves forward, i would urge the house to
incorporate any final measure relating to the st. lawrence seaways on that economic potential, and i thank my colleagues on the great lakes task force, particularly co-chair, mike kelly, who was down here earlier, and david joyce, for their continued hard work and commitment to our region of the country and i thank ranking member defazio for his support on this effort and i thank chairman shuster for his leadership. mr. defazio: reclaiming my time. i thank the gentlelady and the other advocates for this provision in addition to, of course, the senate. you know, you worked tirelessly on this issue. you approached me many, many times about the fact we sort of neglected the potential of the seaway and i think this provision would be extraordinarily meritorious and i certainly intend to support it in conference and help to warner support from the chairman and others so it can stay in the bill as it finally goes to the president's desk. ms. kaptur: i thank the
gentleman. the chair: the gentleman from pennsylvania. mr. shuster: thank you, mr. chairman. i now yield two minutes to the gentleman from louisiana, one of the hardest working members of the committee, mr. graves. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for two minutes. mr. graves: thank you, mr. chairman. mr. chairman, i want to thank chairman shuster, ranking member defazio and so many other members who worked on this bill. it's important we get the water resources development act back on a two-year cycle. we got off to where there was seven years that passed and in many cases critical projects that needed authorization to needed to move forward to construction. i want to echo a couple things the ranking member said. number one on the harbor maintenance trust fund, i couldn't agree more. i think it's disingenuous we're charging users, the tax under the auspices of using it for dredging yet diverting those resources. i think it's disingenuous and look forward to working together with congressman defazio in addressing this. number two, my friend from oregon also noted the backlog
in corps of engineer projects. the reason we have a backlog in projects is because this project delivery mechanism, development delivery mechanism used by the u.s. army corps of engineers, you can look at it project after project. takes 40 years to get a project delivered. you have projects for flood protection, for ecological restoration, for hurricane protection. we don't have time to wait 40 years for this project and this bill moves in the direction in streamlining that process. we have the project, the west shore project, that's been in the study phase for over 40 years and finally moving to authorization. my friend from louisiana, congressman boustany, was able to work to get the southwest project included in here to finally begin to bring some protection to southwest communities that were so devastated by hurricane rita and hurricane ike in previous years. and importantly, mr. chairman, we're bringing forward an amendment to further expedite the comey project, amy project and other projects that are critical to the areas that were just flooded in south
louisiana. i don't know how long we'll continue this backwards policy in the federal government of spending billions after a disaster rather than spending millions before making our communities and making our ecosystem more resilient. again, i want to thank the chairman and ranking member and with that i yield back. the chair: the gentleman from oregon. mr. defazio: i yield myself such time as i may consume. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. defazio: back to the harbor maintenance trust fund issue and the allocations to the corps. the bill sets targets which i fully agree with that a higher percentage of the harbor maintenance tax should be llocated every year to o and m programs. there is already a $2.5 billion back lock in operations and -- backlog in operations and maintenance. unfortunately, if we don't free up the harbor maintenance trust fund, there's only one place that money can come from -- new
construction. so i'm all for the o and m and i'm all for these increases, but by stripping out the harbor maintenance trust fund provision out of the bill and continuing to divert $400 million, $500 million of the tax to the maw of the federal government, they're creating an untenable position for the corps. so they're already saddled with a $64 billion backlog on construction. they're saddled with a $2.5 billion backlog on operations and maintenance. we're telling them they have to spend more on operations and maintenance. well, with the discretionary budget caps, that can come out of only one place and that is the construction projects, whether it's going to come out of port everglades or charleston harbor or brazos highland harbor. i don't know but the corps will have to make those decisions because they aren't going to be getting those additional funds
they would have gotten had we freed up this money and created a real trust fund. with that i ranking member. the chair: the gentleman from pennsylvania. mr. shuster: mr. chairman, can i inquire as to how much time both sides have left? the chair: the gentleman from pennsylvania has 14 1/2 minutes remaining. the gentleman from oregon has 13 1/2 minutes remaining. mr. shuster: thank you, mr. chairman. it's now my pleasure to recognize to the gentleman from pittsburgh, pennsylvania, mr. rothfus. two minutes. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for two minutes. mr. rothfus: mr. chairman, i rise today in strong support of the water infrastructure bill, and i thank chairman shuster for his hard work and dedication in getting this -- us to this point. as part of our better way agenda, house republicans are putting transparency and accountability front and center, especially when it comes to how we spend the taxpayers' dollars. chairman shuster approached this legislation the same way, increasing congressional oversight and transparency to ensure our tax dollars are invested in the most pressing projects. i also applaud chairman shuster's dedication for ensuring that long delayed upper ohio navigation project
gets under way. in the 21st century, we should have a state-of-the-art infrastructure to build a thriving 21st century economy. yet, the emsworth along the upper ohio river are aging and in serious disrepair. i'd like to say that western pennsylvania built this country. this would not be possible that turned our rivers into highways of commerce. pennsylvania steel, machinery, petroleum projects and agricultural goods were able to travel affordably on the ohio river and beyond. complete to ren rations will allow us to generate billions of dollars in economic activity, benefiting western pennsylvania's families, businesses in our region and across the country. i encourage my colleagues to support this legislation and i again commend chairman shuster for his great work on this legislation and i thank the chairman and i yield back.
the chair: the gentleman from oregon. mr. defazio: i would yield to -- are you prepared? the gentlelady from texas two minutes. the chair: the gentlelady is recognized for two ms. jackson lee: let me thank the gentleman from oregon, ranking member, and the chairman, the gentleman from pennsylvania. and i would hope that as we look at these issues, we really look at the name of this bill, water resources development act of 2016 and know that we have over the years had common ground on infrastructure issues that are so important to our respective communities. mr. chairman, in april of 2016, we had the tax base flood and then a flood on memorial day in houston, harris county. it seemed to be a constant refrain in our community and
congressional district. we are a community of bayous and flankly need strong structures for the army corps of engineers and a strong federal partnership when dealing with massive flooding and the loss of life. water takes on many other aspects. , in a few miles up the road austin, they face a conflict with those who are in the agricultural business. it is concerning to me that programs in this bill have been's authorized. it is concerning to me that an issue of pure water has been ignored and that is funding for flipt. this would be a
bipartisan issue. many of us went to flipt and spoke to sit accepts in flint and listened to the representatives in flint, particularly dan this would be others, congresswoman lawrence and we listened to stories and the ability to have children who had cognitive impact and we come here today and that has not been done. and so i want to raise the concern to find a way in which this can be a bipartisan bill and not have projects that are deauthorized to make sure the harbor maintainance trust fund is where it needs to be and make sure that the harbor maintenance trust fund, ensure revenues are collected from shippers. right now, the state of texas is dealing with their coastal area. this very bill could have a great impact, but it cannot do so if the monies are undermined, the fees are used for something
else. and so i would suggest to my colleagues if there is one place we can be bipartisan, it is on clean water and saving lives and i hope we can do that going down the road in this legislation. thank the gentleman, mr. defazio. the chair: the gentleman from pennsylvania. mr. shuster: i recognize the gentleman from louisiana. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. boustany: i thank chairman shuster for bringing this bill to the floor. this will fund critically important projects including the southwest coastal study. we remember the anniversary of hurricane rita. this storm and hurricane ike demonstrated the dire need to implement greater measures to protect our coastal communities many of which were destroyed back then. congressional authorization will open the door when storm
reduction projects for southwest louisiana for the first time. authorization language for this project was included in the manager's amendment and i thank chairman shuster for doing so. the bill includes vital funding for the loch project which is the 10th busiest loch in the nature. a vital feature. the loch facilitates navigation, major flooding into a agricultural area. it includes funding for the lake project which will provide critical storm protection, something that has been in the work for over 40 years. and another project that would have prevented the flooding we just saw in louisiana. these are reasons why we should support this very important legislation and i urge time
passage. to my friend from oregon, i would say this, i have worked extremely hard since i got here to fix the problem with the harbor maintainance trust fund and we have made significant strides with last year's water bill to up the level of funding. but i agree that we should have included this language and i'm committed to working in a bipartisan fashion to ensure that we take those fees, that are collected specifically for operations and maintenance dredging and use it for them period. we have more work to do there. but i urge adoption of this bill and i thank the chairman for bringing it forward. the chair: the gentleman from oregon. mr. defazio: i yield myself such time as i may consume. it was mentioned earlier and will be mentioned again later that there is no funding for flint in this bill and the simple answer would say it is not jurisdictional but the
energy and commerce committee. the senate put funding to help lint and other cities who have a serious health problem with their water systems with a partnership with the federal government like we used to do. historically in these bills, the committee has included water infrastructure projects. but during the committee consideration, mrs. johnson from texas attempted to put in language that would help with flint and it was ruled to not be germane to the bill, although historically, this is under section 219 the corps has authorization for projects such as this. donna edwards from maryland brought forward an amendment on clean water. this is not -- the crisis in flint is beyond belief. but there are many, many other systems around the country that are far from meeting a federal
water quality standards and many of these are communities that lack the resources themselves to deal with it. the federal government used to partner significantly on water and waste water projects of the the federal government has pretty much walked away from that responsibility. there is an amendment right now, right up there, over there, the powerful rules committee is meeting, it's a committee that enforces the rules or waives the rules, whatever they are in the mood to do. they could allow an amendment to this bill -- they could be debating it right now, that would provide some assistance to flint and other communities. mr. kildee has offered an amendment that is fully offset and doesn't increase the budget deficit and we will see how that comes out. but many on this side are reluctant to move forward. i was pleased to see the speaker last week, speaker ryan, saying
that flint should be taken care of in the water resources development bill and majority leader has said the same thing. the question is will they do that in the bill coming out of the house so we don't have to be wondering whether or not it's going to come out of a conference committee. that's yet to be seen. but i think a lot of votes on this side in addition to the concerns i raised earlier pending upon the resolution of whether or not funding for flint is included in this bill. with that, i reserve. the chair: the gentleman from pennsylvania. mr. shuster: i now yield two minutes to the gentlelady from texas, ms. granger. ms. granger: i rise in strong support of h.r. 5303 the water resources development act. i commend chairman shuster for his work on transportation and infrastructure chairman. as a former mayor i can attest w vital and investing in our
water and flood control. we have seen devastating throughout our country. it's important to authorize critical projects. this bill builds on the reforms established two years ago. i represent forth worth, texas, a city that has had devastating floods. what would it help to bring our city up to standards and prepare for this. we are asking for authorizing from the corps of gears. the corps has been working on this project along with the city and the water district tore over five years and this project, the city will have the opportunity to add aments for recreation paid for by the city and the water district and private developers. by law, the corps of engineers nnot pay for basketball or
water parks. they have never been asked to, it is against the law for them to pay for it. cooperation from the city, private developers and the corps -- and the water district will pay for those. thank you for your time. i appreciate your work. i yield. the chair: the gentleman from oregon. mr. defazio: i yield myself. the advocacy has been incredibly persistent since she ear marked this project back in 2004. there was a $220 million project. federal shares have gone from $110 million to over $500 million. included is the splash park and all that but coming out of the local share. if this is a corps project, only things which the corps is authorized to do would be in the calculated total cost and then a percentage of that goes to the local jurisdiction, in this
case, they are getting -- they are counting the contributions of the local developers as part of the local cost shares. so essentially, it is coming out of the taxpayers' pockets. i do have a letter that i will put in the record from the taxpayers for common sense, national taxpayers union. the legislation authorizes funding for projects in fort worth, texas costing more than $800 million. it is really a massive economic development initiative that ould divert precious corps resources. money spent on a splash park is money that cannot be spent to further the corps' core mission. we urge you to remove or limit the funds. that is from taxpayers for common sense. i reserve. the chair: the gentleman from pennsylvania. mr. shuster: i yield a minute and a half to the gentleman from
new jersey, mr. lance. mr. lance: i rise today in strong support of the water resources development act of 2016. and i thank chairman shuster for his championing this legislation and for including authorization nguage for the rahway risk management feasibility study in the bill. the study will create a lasting solution. new jersey municipalities that include canfrget, rahway, springfield and union and the surrounding areas from severe flooding. these municipalities have pursued this project based on its great merits. and i have tried to be their champion at the federal level. this is a critical role for federal representatives helping
county and state first work with the federal government to ensure efficient services. throughout this entire process, local leaders have kept the focus on consensus and collaboration and have united around a solution that has strong public support. they deserve the completion of the study and implementation of a plan that will protect life and property. i thank the local leaders for continuing to advocate on behalf of these communities. i certainly reiterate my thanks to chairman shuster. i urge support of the water resources development act of 2016. and i yield back. the chair: the gentleman from oregon. mr. defazio: i have no further speakers and i'm prepared to close. mr. shuster: i yield one minute to the gentleman from georgia. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for one minute. >> first i want to applaud chairman shuster and the members
of the transportation and infrastructure committee for bringing the water resources development act of 2016 to the floor. water is a crucial piece of legislation which authorizes our nation's lox, dams, harbors and many other resources vital to our nation's economic competitiveness. i rise to speak on an issue that is very close to home. the army corps of engineers new savannah pluff loch and dam is 13 miles south of my hometown of augusta, georgia and essential to the towns of augusta and north augusta. the authorization for the loch and dam has been changed over the past few decades and the definition includes broad language for additional needed changes. i understand the complexities of changing authorizations or even deauthorization -- deauthorizing projects on a river as vital as the savannah river. mr. speaker, i look forward to
the opportunity to work with chairman shuster and the transportation and infrastructure committee on language to correct this process and this -- working with the senate to better serve our community and i yield back. the chair: the gentleman from oregon. mr. defazio: i yield myself such time as i may consume. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. defazio: well, i heard a number of members -- well, first off, the provision to create a hashon maintenance trust fund to begin to actually spend the tax, which we collect from the american people for harbor maintenance on harbor maintenance, shocking. shocking in washington we would do something like that. there are those on the appropriations committee, the budget committee, who are opposed to this, but i heard a number of my colleagues on the republican side say tonight they supported that concept. i -- it came out of committee
unanimously with republican support. and yet the republican leadership reached into this bill, and pulled out that provision because i believe that they were afraid if that provision came to the floor for a vote that it would pass, that we would actually begin to spend the tax that we're collecting from the american people for harbor maintenance on harbor maintenance and begin to catch up with the backlog by spending another $400 million or $500 million a year, which today is being spent on god knows what. it's being thrown into the air. someone said earlier, oh, that money hasn't been spent. ok. show me what account that $9.8 billion is in? there is no account. there's no account. the money's been selected and it's disappeared. now, we can keep that up and we're going to keep it up now
for another two years. that will be another $1 billion that won't be spent on harbor maintenance. so everybody waiting in line to get dredged, and there's a lot of ports waiting in line to get dredged, everybody waiting in that really long line of now $74 billion of backlog authorized projects is just going to have to wait a little longer. in fact, most will be dead before they get around to their project. so it is really a very sad day for the house of representatives when the house is not being allowed to work its will. we're not being allowed to vote on something because a couple of chairmen of a couple of committees that don't know much about, you know, this subject, they aren't the authorizers, they don't understand the details. apparently, they don't understand the massive need in backlog. don't want to spend the tax that's collected for the purpose for which it is collected which is harbor maintenance and/or
construction. it's a very sad day for the house of representatives, and i urge my colleagues to vote in opposition of the legislation. with that i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from pennsylvania. mr. shuster: thank you, mr. chairman. i yield myself such time as i may consume. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. shuster: mr. chairman, we are here today on the floor with the wrda bill. we're back in regular order. this bill reasserts congressional authority of making sure that congress has its say on these matters. this bill is -- addresses specific federal responsibilities that strengthens our infrastructure and it's fiscally responsible. there are 31 chiefs report if we pass the -- if we pass the amendment, 31 chiefs' report. 29 feasibility studies which touches all corners of the country. i know colleagues on both sides of the aisle have projects in there that is extremely important to their districts, to their state and of course to the nation. it certainly was my goal for this to come to the floor in a
bipartisan manner just the way it came out of committee. unfortunately, it did violate a house rule, and we had to strip a part of that bill out. but i just want to say again, as i opened, i agree with mr. defazio and you heard as he just pointed out, there were many members on our side of the aisle that agree, we got to figure out a way to move this forward so that congress continues to have a say, those dollars that people pay to use the ports, they pay that fee. when it goes into the trust fund it goes back -- spent on its intended purpose, and it's just wrong. it's absolutely wrong we don't do that. we're going to pass this bill off the floor here tomorrow, and i'll continue to work with the ranking member to find a solution because it is my goal to be here next congress and to have another wrda bill on the floor and address this problem and continue to pass good legislation that strengthens r infrastructure and strengthen's america's competitiveness in the world.
with that i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: pursuant to the rule, the bill shall be considered for amendment under the five-minute rule. in lieu of the amendment in the nature of a substitute recommended by the committee on transportation and infrastructure printed in the bill, it shall be in order to consider as an original bill for the purposes of amendment under the five-minute rule an amendment in the nature of a substitute consisting of the text of rules committee print 114-65. that amendment in the nature of a substitute shall be considered as read. no amendment to that amendment in the nature of a substitute shall be in order except those printed in house report 114-790 . each such amendment may be offered only in the order printed in the report by a member designated in the report, shall be considered as read, shall be debated for the time specified in the report equally divided and controlled by a proponent and an opponent, shall not be subject for demand for division of the question. it is now in order to consider amendment number 1 printed in house report 114-790. for what purpose does the gentleman from pennsylvania seek recognition?
mr. shuster: mr. chairman, i have an amendment at the desk. the chair: the clerk will designate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 1 printed in house report 114-790 offered by mr. shuster of pennsylvania. the chair: pursuant to house resolution 892, the gentleman from pennsylvania, mr. shuster, and a member opposed, each will control five minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from pennsylvania. mr. shuster: thank you, mr. chairman. i yield myself such time as i may consume. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. shuster: the manager's amendment that i offer -- that i'm offering makes technical and conforming changes to the rules committee print. specifically, this amendment includes a provision to ensure homeowners can assess their property on the lakes. this amendment included a provision that ensures the los angeles chief report we authorized in this bill, specifically at the request of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle. it also has a provision to have the government accountability office carry out a study to determine what federal obligations are required for tribal property affected by construction of several dams on the columbia river in
washington and oregon. it requires expedites revisions to the water control manuals in states which occurred in the last year. lastly, this contains three chiefs' reports and two reports that have been delivered to congress since the transportation and infrastructure committee marked up the bill in may, 2016. i ask members to support my amendment and reserve the balance of my time. the chair: any member claim time in opposition? the question is on the amendment offered -- did the gentleman yield back his time? mr. shuster: i yield back my time. the chair: the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from pennsylvania. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it. the ayes have it and the amendment is agreed to. it's now in order to consider amendment number 2 printed in house report 114-790. for what purpose does the gentlewoman from michigan seek recognition?
mrs. lawrence: mr. chairman, i have an amendment at the desk. the chair: the clerk will designate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 2 printed in house report 114-790 offered by mrs. lawrence of michigan. the chair: pursuant to house resolution 892, the gentlewoman from michigan, mrs. lawrence, and a member opposed, each will control five minutes. the chair recognizes the gentlewoman from michigan. mrs. lawrence: mr. chairman, i yield myself such time as i may consume. the chair: the gentlelady is recognized. mrs. lawrence: my amendment would insert gross negligence as the reason of the secretary of the army to accept and implement nonfederal funding to repair, restore and replace faulty equipment. according to the cornell law dictionary, gross negligence is defined as the lack of care that demonstrates reckless disregard for the safety or lives of others. i believe what happened in flint, michigan, is a good example of another reason that projects could require additional funding, gross
negligence. gross negligence by individuals trusted by the public to maintain and uphold the proper functioning of water programs. mr. chairman, the tragedy that happened in my home state of michigan in flint where thousands of innocent citizens were poisoned by the negligence of people they trusted to supply them with clean water shows the importance of this amendment. our primary responsibility as a member of congress is to advocate for the best interests of our constituents. how can we say we are doing that when an entire city is suffering from the negligence public figures who made bad decisions? residents and individuals affected by emergencies should
not be penalized for negligent actions taken by those expected to do what's best for them. moving forward, the careless actions of a few individuals should never result in the public being endangered as a result of the federal government being unable to assist. this amendment would ensure that the secretary of the army could quickly and efficiently use resources provided by nonfederal entities to assist in the maintenance of a defected project. this amendment would ensure just that. gross negligence should never prevent citizens from receiving the funding necessary during their time of need. mr. chairman, i ask unanimous consent to withdraw my amendment and i yield back my time. the chair: without objection. the amendment is withdrawn.
it is now in order to consider amendment number 3 printed in house report 114-790. for what purpose does the gentleman from texas seek recognition? >> i have an amendment at the desk. the chair: the clerk will designate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 3 printed in house report 114-790 offered by mr. babin of texas. the chair: pursuant to house resolution 892, the gentleman from texas, mr. babin, and a member opposed, each will control five minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from texas. mr. babin: thank you, mr. speaker. i rise to offer this amendment to direct the corps of engineers to focus on the task that it can do and should do when it comes to section 408 reviews. the rivers and harbors act of 1899, enacted in the final days of the 55th congress, first established a process we know today as a section 408 review which i have here in my hand. the rivers -- excuse me -- the
provision was intended to protect engineered structures built by the corps that serve particular functions such as sea walls, dikes, levees or pier and have them work on these or similar assets. over time, however, the corps has expanded its regulatory authority far beyond the scope of that staff -- statute. specifically, the corps now requires a review of any proposal of a physical modification or structure that touches a corps project. even if it has no bearing at all on the navigation or flood control. this has resulted in an overlay of additional administrative procedures, delays and unnecessary costs. in my district, the port of houston, the corps of engineers is currently requiring users to go through the section 408 process in addition to regulatory and real estate protocols for access to dredge material placement sites. in plain english, this means that for a small business to ll up a dump truck full of
muck excavated in a channel they have to fully comply with the same section 408 review that would affect the 10-mile-long galveston sea wall. these projects, which have no direct impact on the corps structures, are undertaken by private users, including many small businesses from the area, who are investing in their facilities, expanding commerce and exports and providing jobs and economic benefits to the state and our nation. the additional time and cost as a result of unnecessary 408 process, which is borne entirely by private entities, or nonfederal partners, delays and increases the costs of these critical projects. my amendment reinforces the original intent of the rivers and harbors act by foe cushion the corps on actual navigation and flood control assets, allowing them to devote their full attention and resources to important safety excavations and expedited review and
execution of project modification requests. mr. speaker, since 1775, the army corps of engineers has performed critical work, ensuring the safety and reliability of america's ports and harbors, and my amendment supports their mission and the good work they do by focusing their resources and the attention where it belongs and i urge a yes vote and i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: any member claim time in opposition to the amendment? mr. defazio: i do. the chair: the gentleman from oregon. mr. defazio: section 408 authorizes the secretary of the army to grant permission for the -- the chair: does the gentleman claim time in opposition in -- in opposition? mr. defazio: yes. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for five minutes. mr. defazio: it grants permission for the corps project if the secretary determines if the proposed alteration would not harm the public interest or impair the usefulness of the project. now, i think it's good we know that proposed modifications do not impair the usefulness of the project or harm the public
interest. now, i share some of the concerns the gentleman has raised. the corps is woefully slow in going through these approvals and i have one pending in my own district and they basically said there's not enough money that is in our budget which was exhausted at the beginning here. we could help the corps out if we had a real harbor maintenance trust fund and using the taxpayers' dollars for the purposes which they were intended which would take pressure off all ports of the corps budget. he corps does does have authority to accept and i hope the corps is listening that the corps does have authority to accept local contributions to speed up with contractors or others or overtime, 408 projects. they have used that authority. i'm not certain of the implications of this amendment, whether it truly does protect the intey