Energy and Water Appropriations Bill passed by US Senate
The $37.5 billion package will fund energy and water programs.
WASHINGTON, MAY 13, 2016 -- The Senate passed its first appropriations bill of the 2017 cycle on Thursday: a $37.5 billion package to fund energy and water programs.
The bill, which passed by a vote of 90-8, was almost derailed by a fight over an amendment related to Iran. The White House had threatened to veto the bill if it included the amendment. The impasse was finally overcome on Wednesday when the amendment failed on a procedural vote.
The bill will increase funding by $355 million over the previous year's funding levels and is $261 million above the President's funding request. Specifically, the bill will increase the Army Corps' funding by a total of $11 million to $6 billion and will provide $1.14 billion worth of funding to the Bureau of Reclamation.
Following the bill's passage, senators on both sides of the aisle hailed it as an example of the way the legislative process is supposed to work:
“This is the first Energy and Water appropriations bill the Senate has passed under ‘regular order’ since 2009 and I hope it restores the committee’s ability to do its work and pass appropriations bills this year,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), ranking member of the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee. “Chairman Lamar Alexander was a great partner in this effort and a big reason we were able to pass this bill on its own for the first time in six years. I’m hopeful that the strong bipartisan vote is a sign that the Senate’s appropriations process can get back on track.”
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), the chairman of the Senate Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee, said, "This appropriations bill is consistent with the spending limits Congress set last year, sets priorities that advance our nation’s goals, and eliminates wasteful spending. We did exactly what the Republican Senate majority was elected to do and we were mindful of the taxpayers’ dollars.”
The House voted its version of the bill out of committee in April. It awaits a vote on the House floor.
The Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA) is the largest statewide coalition of public water agencies in the country. Its 430 public agency members collectively are responsible for 90% of the water delivered to cities, farms and businesses in California.