The Water Resources and Development Act will have to wait until next year in Congress, as representatives were unable to work out a compromise Wednesday.
The legislation would have helped to build 1,200 foot locks and restore ecosystems on the Upper Mississippi and Illinois Rivers. The House version would have authorized $11 billion, while the Senate WRDA bill added $2 billion for post-Hurricane Katrina projects in Louisiana.
Despite bipartisan support in both houses - the Senate passed its version in July and the House passed its bill before Katrina, in July 2005. According to a spokesman for Senate Environment and Public Works Chairman James Inhofe, R-Okla., those working on the bill simply ran out of time.
The National Corn Growers Association issued a statement expressing disappointment that WRDA did not pass in the lame-duck session but offering hope that it may pass in the next Congress. Rep. James Oberstar, D-Minn., says he will make WRDA a top priority next year when he takes over chairmanship of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.