House and Senate Hold Hearings on WRDA Legislation


Recently, key committees in both the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate held hearings on Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) 2022 legislation. WRDA is a biennial bill that authorizes and reauthorizes U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) projects and studies.  USACE’s projects include the construction, operation, and maintenance of federal dams, water supply maintenance, port dredging, and ecological restoration. Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works Michael Connor and USACE Chief of Engineers and Commanding General Lieutenant General Scott Spellmon attended the hearing as witnesses to provide the perspective of President Biden’s administration on WRDA legislation.

In the House of Representatives, the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure’s Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment held a hearing titled, “Proposals for a Water Resources Development Act of 2022: Administration Priorities.” Committee members, both Republicans and Democrats, voiced strong support for continuing to handle WRDA in a bipartisan manner through regular order. The significant infusion of $17.1 billion in funding to USACE from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law was discussed, including the need for USACE to increase staffing to handle its newly increased resources. Representatives also raised specific questions on the status of various USACE projects and studies in their districts.

In the Senate, the Committee on Environment and Public Works held a hearing titled, “Water Resources Development Act Oversight: USACE Implementation of Water Infrastructure Projects, Programs and Priorities.” Senators on the committee, similar to the House, firmly supported a bipartisan approach to WRDA. Additionally, Senators highlighted the need for additional focus on smaller projects that have previously not received the same degree of priority as larger projects. As in the House, a significant number of questions focused on specific projects and studies in the senators’ states.

In light of these hearings and the bipartisan agreement on the need for WRDA 2022, it appears likely this legislation will be moving forward in the coming months. APWA Government Affairs will be advocating on behalf of public works professionals in alignment with our Public Policy Priorities for the 117th Congress. However, if there are specific USACE projects and studies in your community that need to be addressed, it will be vital to reach out to your Representative and Senators to ensure they are aware and are able to make legislative requests for WRDA 2022.

If you have questions or comments regarding WRDA, contact APWA Government Affairs Manager Michael Altman at maltman@apwa.net or (202) 218-6727.