House Approves Fy '16 Energy & Water Development Appropriations Bill

Increased  Corps' Funding And Full Use Of Inland Waterways Trust Fund Achieved

Waterways Council Release
1 May 2015

Today the House of Representatives approved by a vote of 240 to 177 the FY '16 Energy & Water Development Appropriations bill (E&WD) that significantly increases funding for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Civil Works Program.

The FY ’16 E&WD and Related Agencies appropriations bill was approved by the House Appropriations Committee last week (April 15).  However, a Statement of Administration Policy (SAP) indicated that the President’ Senior Advisors would recommend that he veto the bill in its current form, leading to near unanimous Democratic votes in opposition to the legislation on final passage in the full House.

The overall size of the Corps’ Civil Works mission portion of the bill is $5.637 billion and restores Administration cuts, adding $905 million to the Administration request and increasing the Corps' FY 2015 appropriated amount by $182 million.          

The bill increases the President’s proposed Construction account funding level by 40% to $1.634 billion.  Within the Construction account, $340 million will be made available for Inland Waterways Trust Fund priority navigation projects, which Appropriations Committee leaders say expends full use of revenues into that fund. This was one of WCI’s key requests this year for appropriators and particularly important in light of last year’s 9-cent increase in the barge diesel fuel tax rate.       

The Corps’ Operations & Maintenance (O&M) account funding level is $3.094 billion, the highest ever appropriated to this account in an annual appropriation bill, and the third consecutive year of record-level O&M funding.  It is nearly $390 million higher than the Administration’s FY ’16 requested level. While WCI requested a $10 million increase in General Investigations funding, the bill actually provides an appropriation $13 million above the Administration requested amount.

From the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (HMTF), the bill’s proposed FY2016 appropriation of $1.178 billion was amended on the floor to provide $1.25 billion, which is $150 million or 14% higher than last year’s $1.1 billion, and well above the $915 million than the Administration requested from the HMTF. 

WCI reiterated its gratitude for the leadership of House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY), and Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Mike Simpson (R-ID). “Increasing funding for the Corps of Engineers' work and expending full use of the Inland Waterways Trust Fund will modernize the inland navigation system and increase competitiveness,” said WCI President Michael J. Toohey.