Washington Waves
Washington Waves

House Bill Would Provide $9.57 Billion For Civil Works Program

Washington, D.C.–The House Appropriations Committee released a fiscal year 2024 bill for Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies that would provide $9.57 billion for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers civil works program.

That amount is $910 million above the enacted program level for fiscal year 2023, according to a Republican summary of the bill.

That summary also listed $2.771 billion for the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund, $456 million for construction projects on the inland waterways system, fully funding ongoing work for fiscal year 2024 and up to $1.54 billion for flood and storm damage reduction activities.

Investigations would receive $136.08 million; construction, $2.8 billion; operation and maintenance, $5.4 billion; Mississippi River and Tributaries, $364 million; and regulatory program, $218 million.

The measure also would terminate the Biden administration’s Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) rule and return to state control of waterways that historically have not fallen under federal jurisdiction.

The bill would provide $57.958 billion in discretionary spending, $1.963 billion below President Joe Biden’s budget request.

Release of the bill immediately sparked controversy.

Democrats criticized the bill’s “massive cuts” and accused the Republicans of reneging on the bipartisan debt limit agreement recently signed into law.

Two days before the bill was released, Committee Chairwoman Kay Granger (R-Texas) announced she will use the fiscal year 2024 bills to limit new spending to the fiscal year 2022 topline level.

Pointing to what she described as “years of out-of-control spending,” Granger said the Fiscal Responsibility Act set a topline spending cap—“a ceiling, not a floor”—for fiscal year 2024 bills.

Her announcement followed an impasse that blocked floor votes in the House for several days.

A subcommittee markup of the bill was scheduled on Thursday.

Levee Safety Committee

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers withdrew a 2022 notice for applications to serve on the Committee on Levee Safety due to stakeholders’ concerns over the committee’s transparency and makeup.

Eugene Pawlik, chief of Public Affairs, said in light of those concerns and because the original solicitation was more than a year ago, a decision was made to withdraw the solicitation and continue the dialogue with stakeholders over the next few months to better understand their concerns.

“The committee’s charter could then be considered for reshaping to be more inclusive and transparent, but also still meet the requirements of the legislation for the committee,” Pawlik said. “Our intent would be to then readvertise for membership.”

Established to support the National Levee Safety Program, the committee is to advise the Corps and the Federal Emergency Management Agency on developing the levee safety program.

It is to have 14 voting members from state, local, regional and tribal governments as well as the private sector. FEMA and the Corps each will have one non-voting member.

Pawlik said the original solicitation drew 60 applications.

For additional information, contact Tammy Conforti at 202-365-6586 or hq-leveesafety@usace.army.mil or visit www.leveesafety.org.

State Regulatory Ability

The Coast Guard issued a final rule to clarify states’ ability to regulate inland navigation as they have done historically.

Effective June 12, the rule adopts a 2022 interim rule removal of an incorrect statement in federal regulations about field pre-emption of state and local regulations regarding inland navigation. That incorrect language was added by a 2014 rule and subsequently discovered.

States are not required to take any action under the final rule.

For additional information, contact Jeffrey Decker at 202-372-1507 or Jeffrey.E.Decker@uscg.mil.


The Maritime Transportation System National Advisory Committee (MTSNAC) is scheduled to meet June 28-29 in Washington, D.C., to develop recommendations for the Department of Transportation (DOT) on issues related to the marine transportation system.

Open to the public, the meetings are set to begin at 9 a.m. EDT on both days. They will be held at the DOT Conference Center, 1200 New Jersey Ave. SE, Washington, DC 20590.

Requests to attend the meeting must be received by 5 p.m. EDT June 19, and requests for accommodations for a disability must be received by June 27. Those requesting to speak must submit a written copy of their remarks to DOT by June 19, and materials to be reviewed during the meeting must be received by June 19.

For additional information, contact Capt. Jeffrey Flumignan at 347-491-2349 or MTSNAC@dot.gov.

NMERPAC Applications Sought

The Coast Guard is seeking applications for two membership positions on the National Merchant Marine Personnel Advisory Committee (NMERPAC) to represent pilots and deck officers.

Applicants for the pilot vacancy must hold a valid Merchant Mariner Credential endorsed as First Class Pilot. Applicants for the deck officer vacancy must hold a valid Merchant Mariner Credential with an unlimited tonnage oceans endorsement, a limited or unlimited tonnage inland river endorsement and have significant tanker experience.

Applications must be received by August 8.

They should be submitted via email with subject line ‘‘Application for NMERPAC’’ to megan.c.johns@uscg.mil.

For additional information, contact Megan Johns Henry at 202-372-1255 or megan.c.johns@uscg.mil.

Refusing Cargo Space

The Federal Maritime Commission is seeking comments on a Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (SNPRM) on implementing a prohibition on common carriers unreasonably refusing available cargo space to shippers.

Comments must be submitted by11:59 p.m. EDT July 31. They are accepted exclusively at www.regulations.gov.

Issued in response to an original proposal issued on September 21, this SNPRM modifies defined terms and discusses the relationship between the U.S. Code and elements required to establish violations of the provisions.

It also more directly provides a potential standard for unreasonable conduct by ocean common carriers that prevents shippers from obtaining space for their cargo.

Docket No. FMC-2023-0010 for the SNPRM can be found at www.regulations.gov.

For additional information, contact William Cody at 202-523-5723 or secretary@fmc.gov.