Washington Waves
Washington Waves

WRDA 2022 Moves Out Of Committee To Full House

Washington, D.C.—A key House panel advanced its Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2022 that would invest in the nation’s waterways and ports and study the impact of inland flooding and coastal storms.

Passed by voice vote, bipartisan H.R.7776 now heads to the House floor.

It would authorize construction of 16 projects studied and approved by the U.S. Army Corps Chief of Engineers since WRDA 2020 became law, 72 new feasibility studies and a study on the nation’s dredging capacity to allow full advantage of WRDA 2020 investments.

The Corps also would be directed to expedite completion of 15 ongoing studies submitted by local sponsors willing to share the studies’ costs.

“I am pleased to pass a fifth consecutive, bipartisan WRDA bill out of committee—now headed to the House floor—to invest in our ports, harbors, waterways and other key water resources infrastructure,” said Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

“WRDA 2022 will unleash the power of our coastal communities, sustain U.S. jobs and provide critical authorizations and improvements to Corps projects.”

Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.), the panel’s ranking member, said the measure focuses on locally driven projects that have regional and national benefits rather than on significant national policy changes.

“Effective and reliable ports, inland waterways and flood protection infrastructure help keep our nation’s economy moving, and with our current supply chain crisis, supporting water infrastructure is more critical than ever,” Graves said.

After the House committee’s voice vote to advance the bill to the floor, DeFazio expressed hope the measure will be taken up next month by the House and passed. 

“If not, we will negotiate it, we’ll pass it again, and then we will get it done some other way,” he said.

Earlier in the month, the Senate Environment and Public Works voted unanimously to advance its version of WRDA to the Senate floor.

Backers of the legislation say they are committed to getting a compromise version to President Joe Biden’s desk to be signed into law.

That would keep intact a record of enacting WRDA bills every two years since 2014.

Coast Guard Commencement

Vice President Kamala Harris delivered the U.S. Coast Guard Academy’s 141st commencement address in New London, Conn.

Harris told the members of the class of 2022 they are graduating into an unsettled world where the rule of law in places is strained.

She described their future role as vital in advancing U.S. interests abroad and ensuring the nation’s economic interests here at home.

Harris noted that soon the Coast Guard will be led by Adm. Linda Fagan, the first woman in history to lead a U.S. military service.

Fagan has been confirmed by the Senate to serve as the Coast Guard’s next commandant.

World War II Merchant Mariners

Top congressional leaders and other members of Congress presented the Congressional Gold Medal to a group of merchant marine veterans of World War II.

“Throughout the Second World War, our armed forces relied on the merchant marine to ferry supplies, cargo and personnel into both theaters of operation, and they paid a heavy price in service to their country,” said Rep. John Garamendi (D-Calif.), who sponsored the 2020 legislation awarding the medal to World War II merchant mariners.

“The merchant marine suffered the highest per capita casualty rate in the U.S. armed forces during World War II. An estimated 8,300 mariners lost their lives, and another 12,000 were wounded, to make sure our service members could keep fighting.

“Yet, these mariners who put their lives on the line were not even given veteran status until 1988.”

Those who spoke at the ceremony at the U.S. Capitol included House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

Fertilizer Market

The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) announced a 30-day extension of its public comment period on identifying relevant difficulties, including competition concerns and potential policy solutions for the fertilizer market.

Comments now must be submitted by June 15 and may be submitted via www.regulations.gov or to Jaina Nian, Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA, Room 2055–S, STOP 0201, 1400 Independence Ave. SW, Washington, D.C. 20250–0201.

Initially announced in March, the request for public comments followed President Biden’s executive order titled “Promoting Competition in the American Economy,” which created a White House Competition Council and directed federal agencies to enhance fairness and competition across America’s economy.

According to AMS, the initial comment period overlapped a critical time for agricultural producers to plant crops and for academics to conclude semesters.

CTAC To Meet

The National Chemical Transportation Safety Advisory Committee (NCTSAC) is scheduled to meet via a virtual platform and in person June 9 to discuss the safe marine transportation of hazardous materials.

Open to the public, the meeting is set to begin at 9 a.m. Eastern at 1525 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, Va. 22209.

Preregistration is required for access to both the in-person and the video conference with in-person attendance limited to the first 33 registrants and priority given to committee members and Coast Guard support staff.

Comments must be submitted by May 25 to ensure they are reviewed before the meeting and may be submitted via www.regulations.gov.

For additional information, contact Lt. Ethan Beard at 202-372-1419.

Homeport App

The National Maritime Center announced the error that caused intermittent failures of the Homeport application used to match course completion records to the Merchant Mariner Licensing and Documentation system has been resolved.

“Users should continue to use the comma-separated values (CSV) option to upload course completion data,” NMC stated.

“Training providers are strongly encouraged to use this system to report course completions to the Coast Guard.”

To request an account or download operating instructions, go to the National Maritime Center website.

For additional questions, concerns or feedback, contact the NMC Customer Service Center by e-mailing IASKNMC@uscg.mil or calling 888-IASKNMC (427-5662).