On a vote of 412 to 4 Tuesday, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed the conference report of the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA). The report, which the American Soybean Association fully supports, will now be voted on by the Senate likely later this week, at which point the report is expected to pass easily.
"With today's vote, the House has done its part to bring this legislation into port. Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Chairman Shuster, Ranking Member Rahall, Subcommittee Chairman Gibbs and Ranking Member Bishop have done a wonderful job balancing soybean farmers' needs with the many other industries well represented in the bill," said ASA President and Iowa farmer Ray Gaesser. "Now it's on to the Senate and to the President's desk."
The conference report includes multiple soybean industry priorities including provisions that will free up significant funding within the Inland Waterways Trust Fund for additional waterways infrastructure projects; increasing the level of Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund dollars that will be spent on port maintenance and dredging; streamlining the Army Corps of Engineers' project review process; increasing Corps flexibility to maintain navigation during low water events; and promoting the use of alternative financing and public-private partnerships to fund waterways infrastructure.
"This legislation continues to be a huge priority for soybean farmers," added Gaesser. "Not only do we need reliable waterways infrastructure to move our soybeans to market here domestically; the waterways are also a vital component of our international trade system, which saw us export more than $27 billion in soybeans last year as the nation's top farm export. Our waterways are part of a significant competitive advantage for American soybean farmers, and we must continue to invest in them."