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Congress pushed back on reduced Corps budget plan

April 29, 2022   The Waterways Journal

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Waterways Journal Weekly – St. Louis, MO – 4/29/22 – Jim Myers


Washington, D.C.—President Joe Biden’s proposal to cut more than a billion dollars from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers budget in fiscal year 2023 drew more push back from another key Democrat.


“As we begin our discussion on fiscal year 2023, I am discouraged by the proposed reductions of $1.7 billion from the Army Corps and $486 million for (the Bureau of) Reclamation,” said Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), chairwoman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development.


Citing the historic investments made through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, Kaptur said the government still has more work to do to rebuild the nation’s crumbling infrastructure.


Her comments echoed those of her counterpart in the Senate, Democrat Dianne Feinstein of California.


Kaptur also ticked off a list of “extreme weather events” that occurred last year in several states, ranging from a record cold snap that crippled the power grid in Texas to the first ever water shortage declared on the Colorado River and floods and wildfires in California.


Kaptur also used her opening statement at a hearing on Biden’s budget to warn of future challenges such as invasive Asian carp in the Great Lakes region.


Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho), the subcommittee’s ranking member, also expressed disappointment over the proposed budget cuts.


“In contrast to administrations of both parties, Congress, on a bipartisan basis, has repeatedly supported these programs,” Simpson said.


He pointed out the Corps faces a cut of more than 20 percent.


Neither Michael Connor, assistant secretary of the Army for Civil Works, nor Lt. Gen. Scott Spellmon, chief of engineers and commanding general of the Corps, was forced to defend the cuts proposed by the president’s budget.


Connor said the $6.6 billion budget for the Civil Works program, down from the $8.3 billion in the current fiscal year, continues to focus on high economic and environmental returns.