For divided Congress, water projects are a unifier

12/27/2013

WASHINGTON (AP) - Big multimillion-dollar water project bills used to be a favorite target of good-government reformers who demonized them as filled with political pork. Now authorizing such projects is a rare example of concord in a dysfunctional Congress.

Republicans and Democrats, conservatives and liberals are rallying behind a bill they hope to pass early next year authorizing up to $12.5 billion over the next decade for dozens of water projects.

They include flood diversion in North Dakota, widening a Texas-Louisiana waterway serving oil refineries and deepening the rapidly growing Port of Savannah in Georgia.

Only three members voted against the House version in October. The Senate easily passed its version 83-14 earlier.

Negotiators are confident they can merge the two and pass the package for President Barack Obama's signature early in 2014.


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