House leaders urge President to sign WRDA

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, Majority Whip James E. Clyburn, Democratic Caucus Chairman Rahm Emanuel, and Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman James Oberstar sent a letter to President Bush this afternoon urging him to sign the 2007 Water Resources Development Act, Congress sent to the President this week. The legislation, which passed with overwhelming bipartisan support in the House and Senate, makes critical investments in our nation's...

WASHINGTON, Oct. 26, 2007 -- Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, Majority Whip James E. Clyburn, Democratic Caucus Chairman Rahm Emanuel, and Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman James Oberstar sent a letter to President Bush this afternoon urging him to sign the 2007 Water Resources Development Act, Congress sent to the President this week. The legislation, which passed with overwhelming bipartisan support in the House and Senate, makes critical investments in our nation's infrastructure to help protect Americans from natural disasters.

The full text of the letter is below:

Oct. 26, 2007
Dear President Bush:
The Congress has sent to you the 2007 Water Resources Development Act, which was passed by overwhelming, bipartisan majorities in the House and Senate. This legislation authorizes crucial safety and security initiatives that will benefit millions of Americans and the communities in which they live.

We are concerned by reports that you might veto this crucial legislation and we are writing to urge you to sign the WRDA bill into law.

Americans have watched with anguish this week as firefighters battle the wildfires in southern California, and as so many hundreds of families lost their most treasured possessions. We are appreciative that you took the time to travel to California to inspect the damage and visit with the firefighters and some of those who have lost everything in the fires.

Other regions of our country face serious threats from natural disasters caused by flooding, storm surge, and hurricanes. The WRDA bill now on your desk will help protect Americans from these disasters.

This congressionally-approved bill authorizes more than 200 projects to protect lives and livelihoods in our communities from the devastating impacts of flooding by building and repairing floodwalls and levees, as well as by restoring wetlands that absorb floodwaters.

Hurricanes Katrina and Rita demonstrated that wetlands and coastal barrier islands are the first and strongest line of defense against coastal storms and hurricanes. The WRDA bill authorizes nearly $2billion for a comprehensive program to restore the Louisiana coastal area to protect New Orleans, other communities in southern Louisiana, and crucial oil and gas infrastructure.

We remember your pledge to rebuild New Orleans "even better and stronger than before the storm." WRDA is essential to carrying out your commitment to rebuild this great city. It contains the authority for the Corps of Engineers to raise and enhance flood protection levees surrounding the City of New Orleans to achieve a 100-year level of protection, improves the drainage canals that contributed to the flooding of New Orleans, and directs the Corps to physically close the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet - a step essential to the protection of the Lower Ninth Ward and other neighborhoods.

WRDA 2007 provides the Corps of Engineers with the essential tools it needs to evaluate the adequacy of existing flood control projects, and to take swift action to protect these cities and their inhabitants. Sacramento, California stands out as particularly vulnerable; many of its levees were built as long as 150 years ago and rarely repaired since.

This legislation has overwhelming bipartisan support, passing the House by a vote of 381 to 40 and the Senate by a vote of 81 to 12. In light of the tragic events in California and the Gulf Coast that have so moved our nation, we urge you to join in our commitment to protecting our citizens from natural disasters by signing the Water Resources Development Act of 2007.

Sincerely,
Nancy Pelosi
Speaker of the House

Steny Hoyer
House Majority Leader

James E. Clyburn
House Majority Whip

Rahm Emanuel
Chairman, Democratic Caucus

James Oberstar
Chairman, House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee

###

More in Infrastructure Funding