Sen. McCaskill has voted against a bill that would authorize a nearly $2 billion improvement to the upper Mississippi River lock and dam system, because she disapproves of the method used to authorize such projects.
The Water Resource Development Act (WRDA) won approval in the Senate on an 81-to-12 vote. The bill authorizes $1.95 billion for seven new locks on the upper Mississippi River and another $1.7 billion for environmental restoration. The bill authorizes flood control, environmental restoration and navigation projects on the nation’s water ways. Missouri has nearly 1,000 miles of river frontage on the Missouri and Mississippi.
Sen. Bond championed the measure during Senate floor debate. Bond said the bill is long overdue, at times even referring to it as the 2001 bill that never won approval. Bond said the improvements to the Mississippi river way were vital to industry and agriculture. His office stated that a single medium-sized barge tow carries the same freight as 870 trucks.
McCaskill was among the 12 senators who voted against the bill. She points out only here, on water resources, does the federal government require Congress to approve individual projects.
McCaskill stated on the Senate floor, "I believe as a former auditor that we should be allowing the Army Corps of Engineers to direct funding based on a cost-benefit analysis. A cost-benefit analysis would allow the prioritization of projects based on the best value for our dollar."
McCaskill also objects that Senate and House negotiators slipped projects into the bill when reconciling differences between the two chambers. McCaskill said any project included in the bill should be fully debated on the Senate and House floors, "This isn’t about the projects. This is about the process."