Congressman Thomas J. Rooney

Representing the 17th District of Florida

Bill Summary

We’re not increasing spending.  We’re prioritizing it.

#REPAIR America’s Rivers, Seaports, Lakes, Levees, Locks & Dams

Bottom line up front

The Responsible Environmental Preservation and American Infrastructure Restoration Act, or the REPAIR Act, would make a limited change to the House rules’ definition of a “congressional earmark” to allow Congress to direct funding to vetted water resources development projects of the Army Corps of Engineers and the Bureau of Reclamation. The REPAIR Act does not authorize or appropriate any new funds for these projects, which comprise just half of one percent of our overall annual discretionary spending, and stays exclusively within the budget caps set by Congress.

The status quo isn’t working

Recently, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) gave America’s infrastructure a collective grade of a D+ and our nation’s dams, inland waterways, and levees all topped out with Ds. Our economy slows as ships wait for days to offload their cargo in ports that have been not been properly dredged and Americans living in areas with high flood risks have to live in continuous fear that the dams and levees protecting their homes may breech. Currently, requests for “earmarks” are banned by GOP Conference rules, which the House rules define to be any request for funding that’s targeted to a specific state, locality or congressional district. Because 85% of Army Corps projects and 75% percent of Bureau of Reclamation projects are geographically-specific, it is impossible for a Member of Congress to request funding for these critical water infrastructure projects without violating the House rules.

No cost solution to #REPAIR America’s water infrastructure

After several years of a divided government, almost every Member of Congress has experienced the direct correlation between the earmark ban and our inability to exert influence over executive agencies – especially as it pertains to these essential public works projects. The REPAIR Act is a zero-cost solution to this problem that will simply allow Congress to respond to the water resource infrastructure needs of their communities, rather than waiting for the unelected, faceless bureaucrats in the executive branch move on these projects. From efforts to dredge our inland waterways to shoring up our nation’s crumbling levees and dams – the REPAIR Act takes back the authority to fund these scrutinized projects from the executive branch and puts it back into the hands of accountable elected officials who know how important these projects are to our communities.