September 30, 2007 - Please, Take Action to Support WRDA!

I truly hope this is the last time I have to ask you to take action to support WRDA, the Water Resources Development Act; something we have been talking about for seven or eight years. Now finally, with an overwhelming vote in the Senate last month, the bill is ready to make its way to the desk of President Bush.

Earlier this year, the House passed WRDA by a 381 to 40 vote; the Senate vote was 81 to 12 which means the support in both the House and Senate is overwhelming. But now, there is trouble at the White House with the President saying he will veto the legislation. He objects to the overall cost of the bill, which is now projected to be 21-billion dollars.

Why has the cost escalated to that level? Place the blame on Congress because its members had the opportunity to pass this legislation at least 6 years ago and could never reach an agreement to move this needed lock and dam renovation forward. We all know how construction costs have risen since 2000.

The President of the National Corn Growers Association, Kent McCauley, said “. . .it is unfortunate the administration is threatening veto”. He goes on to say, and I quote “. . . our infrastructure cannot keep pace with demands and is falling apart. We must upgrade the lock system on the upper Mississippi and the Illinois Rivers to compete in the global market place. Our hope is the President will take seriously his responsibility to ensure our Nation has a safe and viable infrastructure by signing WRDA into law.”

Bob Stallman, the President of the American Farm Bureau Federation says “ . . . Improvements to locks and dams on the upper Mississippi and Illinois Rivers are needed if American agriculture is to remain competitive in a global economy.” He said “. . .the provisions contained in this bill will help ensure that U.S. agriculture will be able to compete with Brazil, China and other countries that have invested heavily in their infrastructure.”

At this point, it looks like a Presidential veto can be over-ridden on Capitol Hill, but I hope that will not be necessary. So I urge you to write, call or e-mail the White House. Tell the President this legislation is important for the well-being of all of us in America and ask him to sign the bill.

My thoughts on Samuelson Sez.