Tomorrow. the Senate votes on the S. 2848, the Water Resources Development Act (WARDA) of 2016. This bill, which reauthorizes the Corps of Engineers projects, is full of wasteful spending and projects funded based on the political influence of the politicians behind it, rather than on actual need.
Campaign for Liberty members opposed to wasting taxpayer dollars on pork-barrel projects should call their Senators today and tell them to oppose S. 2848.
For more information on this bill, see the text of a collation letter sent to the Senate today:
We, on behalf of our members and supporters, urge you to oppose S. 2848, the Water Resources Development Act of 2016.
This legislation contains billions of dollars in giveaways, unwise policy changes that will cost taxpayers in the future, and little in the way of reform to establish priorities in how the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers pursues projects.
One retroactive cost-share change that sticks taxpayers with more of the tab for dredging the nation's deepwater ports will cost nearly a half billion dollars. This shortsighted provision will benefit ports that have already agreed to pay a greater share of the costs.
Another provision will cost taxpayers more than $200 million by mandating that every port along the Mississippi River be dredged to their authorized dimensions even if a port is not being used.
The bill irresponsibly mandates the Corps ignore its traditional, and already inadequate, economic analysis to move forward with a project in Louisiana. Another provision would enable the Corps to use emergency (non-appropriated) funds to rebuild flood and storm damage reduction projects damaged in a disaster to much higher levels than pre-disaster without considering all the alternatives and with little or no financial contribution from the project beneficiaries.
Finally, a litany of provisions in S. 2848 will effectively put non-federal interests in the driver's seat as to what should be studied and what projects should be built.
The bill allows non-federal interests to jump-start a study project or even operations and maintenance by providing the Corps what amounts to a no-interest loan. Those interests are eligible to be repaid “subject to future appropriations.”
With this we will be assured that the most well-to-do projects move forward but not the most critical or important. Furthermore, this will be a debt that we push on future generations and Congresses.
There are some amendments we urge the Senate to support to lessen the fiscal pain for taxpayers. Senator Flake has offered several, and we would support other pro-taxpayer amendments:
SA 5012 – ensures the Corps submits the legislatively mandated report that details authorized projects subject to automatic deauthorization (non-essential travel funds would be withheld absent the report).
- SA 5013 – eliminates the port deepening cost share change, saving taxpayers $430 million according to the Congressional Budget Office.
- SA 5014 – reduces authorization level for Low Priority Studies and Construction by $808 million.
- SA 5016 – sets limits and guidelines on future project authorizations submitted to Congress.
- SA 5017 – makes Environmental Infrastructure projects subject to the existing automatic deauthorization process.
- SA 5018 – targets wasteful beach nourishment project funding.
Again, we urge you to oppose S. 2848 the Water Resources Development Act of 2016. It wastes fiscal resources and sets bad policy and precedents that will cost taxpayers dearly in the future.
Campaign For Liberty
National Taxpayers Union
Taxpayers for Common Sense
Taxpayers Protection Alliance
Tags: Senate, wasteful spending