Water Resources Development Act (WRDA): Army Corps of Engineers Authorization Issues in the 109th Congress [Updated June 9, 2006] [open pdf - 94KB]
"Congress generally authorizes new Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) water resources studies and projects before appropriating funds to them. The 109th Congress is considering authorizing numerous Corps projects through a Water Resources Development Act (WRDA)- H.R. 2864 and S. 728. The House passed H.R. 2864 in July 2005; S. 728 was placed on the Senate calendar in April 2005. Reportedly some Senators are pushing for a floor vote by the July 2006. The last WRDA was enacted in 2000; however, WRDAs had followed a loosely biennial schedule. Hurricane Katrina increased support for hurricane protection and flood control, and Louisiana and other Gulf Coast projects, while at the same time increasing interest in streamlining federal spending. The pending WRDA bills have not been acted on since before Hurricane Katrina; many observers anticipate WRDA amendments that address water resources projects that have arisen either directly as the result of the hurricane or as the result of policy issues raised by the hurricane. The Administration has expressed concerns both about the level of authorizations in WRDA bills creating false expectations for federal appropriations, and about WRDA bills not addressing the backlog of authorized Corps projects. The Administration's position has been one factor shaping the debate on the pending bills; authorization of a few controversial projects (e.g., Everglades restoration projects) and possible changes to Corps policies and practices have also been factors."
CRS Issue Brief for Congress, IB10133