Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) Will Break the Budget with Pork Projects

WASHINGTON, DC –Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) voiced its opposition to H.R. 2864, the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), which is before the House of Representatives today for debate. The measure authorizes funding for river and harbor projects by the Army Corp of Engineers for the next ten years.

H.R. 2864 allows over $4.3 billion for the next five years AND an additional $5.9 billion for the five years following, for a grand total of nearly $10.3 billion over ten years. WRDA was originally passed by the House in 2003, but a bill never made it out of the Senate chamber. At that time the measure only had a price tag of $2.72 billion over five years. The last time that WRDA was signed into law was 2000 and the cost was only $1.6 billion over five years (PL 106-541).

“How can a measure approved by the House in 2003 increase by more than thirty-six percent two years later when inflation is only growing by a rate of less than four percent over the same time period?,” stated Grover Norquist, President of Americans for Tax Reform. “It seems to me that members of Congress must show some fiscal restraint by standing against a measure with such a large increase in its approved dollar amount.”

Unfortunately, issues with this measure go beyond its bulky price tag. The Congressional Research Service (CRS) recently documented the “backlog” that the Army Corp of Engineers has been experiencing, noting “more than 500 authorized projects that have not consistently received construction appropriations.” Most importantly, the House Budget Committee reports that the mandatory spending in H.R. 2864 will violate the Budget Act once the surface transportation reauthorization bill that a conference committee is working on is signed into law.

“With big dollar measures such as the transportation bill and energy legislation on the Hill, Congress should change the fiscal game they are playing to one that protects hardworking taxpayers from spending raids on their wallets,” continues Norquist. “A stand against H.R. 2864 will change that game.”