Congress Overrides Bush Veto on Water Resources Legislation

For the first time, Congress reversed one of President Bush's vetoes after the Senate voted 79-14 in favor of a $23 billion water projects bill.

The Water Resources Development Act (WRDA -- H.R.1495) had broad support in the Senate and House of Representatives, which voted 361-54 on Nov. 6 to override the veto.

"This is important bipartisan legislation that benefits the nation's economy and ecology and it was long overdue," said Rep. James Oberstar (D-MN). "Under the Republican leadership of Congress, the reauthorization of WRDA has been stalled for the past seven years."

WRDA authorizes projects that impact waterborne commerce on the nation's rivers and coasts. The legislation also funds critical habitat restoration projects and environmental projects.

Officials with the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) stated that although the legislation is supposed to be biennial, the last WRDA bill was signed into law in 2000. In the intervening years, demand for critical water resources projects has continued to mount, as have the costs to implement them.

"Now that this important legislation has become law, AAPA will continue to advocate for America's critical water resources infrastructure, and we will continue to work with Congress to ensure that future WRDA bills get back on a biennial cycle so this nation is never again faced with a seven-year backlog of water resources projects waiting to be authorized," said Kurt Nagle, AAPA president and chief executive officer.

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