U.S. Senators Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), the Senate’s leading foe of government waste and a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) secured a number of key provisions in this year’s Water Resources Development Act (WRDA)—a biannual water resources package that passed the committee unanimously this morning—including Ernst’s government sunshine measure requiring taxpayer-funded projects that break the bank to be publicly disclosed and measures to update Cedar Rapids’ flood system and a levee in the Des Moines area.
“Footing the bill for government projects that are millions over budget and years behind schedule isn’t Iowa taxpayers’ idea of how their hard-earned money should be spent in Washington, and thanks to this legislation, they can hold those responsible accountable,” said Senator Joni Ernst. “I’m pleased this water resources package includes these key sunshine requirements to expose egregious government waste while supporting important priorities for Iowa farmers and families.”
“I’m glad we were able to secure several priorities in this year’s Water Resources and Development Act, and I’d like to thank Senator Ernst and the rest of the Environment and Public Works Committee for helping make it happen. This critical water resources legislation now contains several provisions that will directly benefit Iowa, including authorizations to help with additional flood control needs in both Cedar Rapids and Des Moines,” Senator Chuck Grassley said.
The key provisions Ernst and Grassley included in the WRDA package are:
- Transparency for Over-Budget, Behind-Schedule Government Projects
Requires the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to submit a report to Congress listing all taxpayer-funded water resources projects that are either $100 million over budget or 5 years behind schedule, mirroring her longtime efforts to shine light on Washington’s most egregious instances of waste. Ernst advocated for the provision at an EPW hearing earlier this year.
- Updating Cedar Rapids’ Flood System
Authorizes a study to examine the feasibility of a project to update to Cedar Rapids’ flood system.
- Allowing Improvements to Go Through for a Des Moines Area Levee
Makes a jurisdictional fix for a levee in the Des Moines area— the Southeast Des Moines (SEDM) levee—so that it can finally get the improvements it needs.
- Studying Harmful Algal Blooms in the Upper Mississippi River
Extends the scope of a study on harmful algal blooms – or HABs – so that the Upper Mississippi River and its tributaries are included in the study. HABs occur when colonies of algae grow out of control and produce toxic or harmful effects on people, fish, and birds.