The saddest bit of legislative text we’ve seen all week

March 20, 2013

Here it is:

This is only one small bit of a draft of the Water Resources Development Act of 2013, which is currently being marked up in the Senate and will cover everything from flood prevention to harbor restoration. And it actually makes an important point. [Update: See below.] Still, the way it's phrased is undeniably amusing.

Some backdrop: On Tuesday, the American Society of Civil Engineers came out with a big report noting that America's inland waterways are in poor shape, earning a grade of D-. These navigable water channels, which carry $152 billion worth of goods each year, including grain and steel, are getting clogged and causing costly delays for businesses.


This painting has nothing to do with the story, but it's a waterway. It's Canaletto's "The Entrance to the Grand Canal, Looking West, With Santa Maria della Salute." (Copyright Museum Of Fine Arts, Houston)

And it turns out that members of Congress do recognize this is a problem (even if it's a relatively small one in the grand scheme of things). But it's not entirely clear what to do about it.*

The pointer for this passage, by the way, comes from Taxpayers for Common Sense, which is currently scouring through the Senate water-infrastructure bill and hunting for wasteful or other overly expensive projects in it.

Meanwhile, on a far more substantive note, environmental groups and insurance companies are arguing that the larger water bill should be revamped to focus more on protecting coastal areas against climate change and storm-related damage. Zack Colman has much, much more on that battle here.

* Update: Okay, here's an explanation for the text above. According to Senate staff, the purpose of this resolution was to express the sense that this revenue issue needs to be addressed. But the committee that drafted the bill (the Senate Environment and Public Works committee) doesn't have jurisdiction over revenues — the Senate Finance Committee does. So this was a not-so-subtle call for help here.

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UGC FROM ARTICLE: !!!

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Sarah Kliff | March 20, 2013