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Statement of Administration Policy: H.R. 6 - Water Resources Conservation, Development, and Infrastructure and Rehabilitation Act of 1985

October 23, 1985


(House Rules)
(Rep. Roe (D) New Jersey)

While the Administration commends the House Ways and Means and Merchant Marine and Fisheries Committees for endorsing the concept of an ad valorem harbor user fee, the House Interior Committee for deleting the unnecessary National Water Resources Policy Board, and the House Public Works Committee for incorporating elements of the Senate-Administration compromise agreement on cost-sharing and user fees, the Administration is still strongly opposed to H.R. 6 because it would cost $16-17 billion over the next several years in total Federal funds and authorize:

— several massive, unnecessary new programs that often supplant traditional State and local responsibilities at a time when the Administration is struggling to fund existing Federal programs in the water resource area. Particularly objectionable are: the subsidized Federal loan programs for municipal water treatment/distribution systems (potential exposure of $100 billion or more), and repair of non-Federal dams (potential exposure of billions of dollars); Federal loan guarantees for non-Federal harbor construction; and the new National Board on Water Resources Policy;

— construction of scores of new water projects, 80 percent of which are of dubious economic or environmental benefit or have been incompletely studied;

— special provisions changing current law that would substantially and unnecessarily decrease traditional non-Federal cost sharing for the deepening of certain harbors; and

— an unwarranted and unacceptable lowering of water project evaluation standards. H.R. 6 mandates changes in current criteria that would make many projects with benefits much less than their costs appear to be justified.

Further, H.R. 6 does not include the increase of the inland waterway fuel tax recommended by the Administration, nor the navigation user fee technical amendments proposed by Treasury and Army in September. These amendments are necessary for the effective and efficient administration of the user fees. The bill also fails to treat all regions of the nation equitably, by not extending the compromise cost-sharing agreement to as-yet unstarted, multi-million dollar features of the Mississippi River and Tributaries comprehensive flood control project.

The Administration urges the Congress to eliminate or modify objectionable provisions or omissions in H.R. 6 during floor or conference action. If H.R. 6 is enacted in its present form, the President's advisors would recommend that the bill be disapproved.

Ronald Reagan, Statement of Administration Policy: H.R. 6 - Water Resources Conservation, Development, and Infrastructure and Rehabilitation Act of 1985 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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