House Committee Clears $50B Clean Water BillAlthough White House negotiations with Senate Republicans over a wide-ranging infrastructure package...

House Committee Clears $50B Clean Water BillAlthough White House negotiations with Senate Republicans over a wide-ranging infrastructure package...House Committee Clears $50B Clean Water Bill
Although White House negotiations with Senate Republicans over a wide-ranging infrastructure package have broken down, Congress is making progress on more targeted, though still significant, infrastructure bills.

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee (T&I) on June 9 approved one major measure, authorizing $50 billion over five years for wastewater, sewer-overflow and other water infrastructure projects.

The House committee cleared the water infrastructure bill on a 42-25 vote. It was somewhat bipartisan, with five Republicans joining Democrats as “aye” votes.

But the panel’s top GOP member, Sam Graves of Missouri, criticized the Democratic majority for not including many Republican priorities.

A key part of the T&I bill is its record $40 billion over five years for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (SRF), a principal source of federal aid for wastewater treatment infrastructure projects. The legislation also reauthorizes the SRF program for the first time since its creation, in 1987.

Committee Chair Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) said in a statement, "The bill represents a renewal of the federal commitment to invest in our wastewater infrastructure and address local water quality challenges and it's long overdue."

DeFazio also noted the measure would direct states to provide a larger share of the SRF aid to cities and towns in the form of grants, rather than loans. That shift makes the SRF aid more attractive, especially to localities with limited financial resources.