On Tuesday, Rep. Cindy Axne (IA-03) and the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously advanced a revised version of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2020, which authorizes Army Corps of Engineers flood prevention projects, repairs locks and dams, and addresses water management issues.
The House of Representatives passed WRDA earlier this year and now, after bicameral negotiations with the Senate, the legislation will return to the Senate for final approval before it heads to the President’s desk for his signature.
“I’m proud that Congress has been able to come together in a bipartisan fashion and get this important legislation one step closer to being signed into law,” said Rep. Axne. “After the floodwaters rose and devasted Southwest Iowa last spring, I’ve been working every single day to ensure Iowans have the resources they need to recover and rebuild their communities. Once signed into law, the Water Resources Development Act of 2020 will give the Army Corps of Engineers and our communities more resources and flexibility for flood protection.”
- New authority for the Army Corps of Engineers to address the needs of communities facing repeated flooding events, such as Hamburg, Iowa – which Rep. Axne sought to address through legislation introduced last year
- An increase in funding authority for the Des Moines Birdland Levee, which flooded communities along the Des Moines River in 2008 and needs additional repairs
- Increased adjustments for the federal cost share of Inland Waterways projects to develop critical infrastructure along the Mississippi River
- Expedited processing of permits and approvals for repairs of flood control infrastructure caused by flooding in 2019
- Language that directs the Army Corps of Engineers to complete the comprehensive Lower Missouri River Basin study
“Nearly a decade ago, the town of Hamburg was told to either come up with $5.6 million dollars or tear down a temporary levee that provided protection,” said Rep. Axne. “Despite their best efforts, the levee was reduced and last spring the community faced more flooding. This is an unacceptable issue, and I fought at every turn to ensure the Army Corps has the authority to make this type of fix so no other community has to suffer through the bureaucratic red tape that Hamburg had to.”
Earlier this year, Rep. Axne shared the story of Hamburg’s flooding, communication and planning difficulties with the Army Corps authority in testimony before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
Last year, Axne introduced bipartisan legislation to provide the Army Corps with new authority to cut through red tape and provide federal funds for levees in repeated flooding communities such as Hamburg.
The legislation passed today included similar language to address the problems highlighted by Rep. Axne’s advocacy.
After securing $3 billion for Midwest flood recovery in last year’s federal disaster bill, Rep. Axne has been tracking funding provided to Iowa to help rebuild from last year’s flooding with her Iowa Flood Funding Tracker.
The tracker currently details over $630,000,000 spent on disaster recovery projects.