WASHINGTON, DC – House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (MD) spoke on the House Floor today in support of overriding the President’s veto of the Water Resources Development Act. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:
“Madam Speaker, like most of our House colleagues, I am deeply disappointed that the President has chosen to veto the Water Resources Development Act – which is critical to the health of our people, economic development and the safety of our communities.
“The WRDA Conference Report – which passed the House and Senate by overwhelming bipartisan votes of 381 to 40 and 81 to 12, respectively – makes critical investments in our nation’s water resources and infrastructure.
“In short, this Conference Report will enable the Army Corps of Engineers to maintain our federal shipping channels – preserving jobs and bolstering the economy.
“It will allow the Corps to work with states and local communities on necessary environmental restoration projects.
“And it will permit the Corps to ensure the safety of our citizens by shoring up our aging levees, dams and reducing the possibility of flooding.
“Furthermore, this Conference Report makes specific investments in the Gulf Coast devastated by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. For example, it would restore Louisiana’s coastal wetlands, which provide increased hurricane and storm damage protection. It would raise and enhance flood protection levees surrounding the City of New Orleans. And it would make improvements to the drainage canals that significantly contributed to the flooding of New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina.
“Unfortunately, despite the beneficial investments called for in this Conference Report, the President has chosen to obstinately stand in the way of this bipartisan legislation in a vain attempt to posture as somehow fiscally responsible.
“Let us be clear: If the President wants to make a stand on fiscal responsibility, this is simply the wrong bill on which to make a stand.
“The WRDA Conference Report is a multi-year authorization, through which Congress would appropriate about $2 billion a year for the Corps to undertake projects.
“Furthermore, this Conference Report reflects a backlog of seven years of project requests because the 107th, 108th and 109th Congresses failed to enact a water resources bill.
“Let me add that the idea that our President is trying to recapture the mantle of fiscal responsibility after pursuing the most fiscally irresponsible policies in American history is more than a little ironic.
“Thus, it is up to us, Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle, to do the right thing for America and to override this misguided veto.
“I urge my colleagues: Let’s vote to override this unjustified veto of the first WRDA bill to reach the President’s desk during his Administration.
“Let’s fulfill our promise to communities all across this nation and make the vital, fiscally responsible investments in projects that facilitate commerce and economic development, provide eco-system restoration and protect human life and property.”