If Louisiana benefits in general when members of Congress work together in a spirit of compromise, our state benefits very specifically when the vessel of unaccustomed collaboration is a bill on public works for waterways.
Voting on its first big bill since the end of a 16-day partial government shutdown, House Republicans and Democrats approved 417-3 an $8.2 billion bill that sketches out plans for dams, harbors, river navigation and other water projects for the coming decade. The Water Resources Development Act is obviously of critical importance to Louisiana.
The House bill has a ways to go, as the Senate passed a different version of WRDA. But since that was also by a large bipartisan majority, the path toward a WRDA compromise between the two chambers appears open.
For Louisiana members, a key sticking point will be funding for Louisiana coastal projects.
Our U.S. senators from Louisiana are in a good position to improve the final product, with Sen. David Vitter, R-La., to be at the table as a member of the conference committee between the two chambers. Vitter is the senior Republican on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and he and his senior colleague, Democrat Mary Landrieu, will work closely on the Louisiana projects.
We look forward to a legislative process that not only works, but works for Louisiana, in the WRDA bill.