Future of Louisiana at stake this week

November 07, 2007 at 11:56 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

By the time you are reading this, both the House and Senate have probably overidden President Bush’s veto of the water bill which would authorize projects to restore and protect the Louisiana coast as well as other projects across the nation. The President thought the overall measure was too expensive. Our senators and congressmen have a different view and were expected to vote to override the veto.

Following are the opinions of our two senators on the veto.

(Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Sen. David Vitter expressed his extreme disappointment in President Bush’s veto of the WRDA Conference Report.

“I am extremely disappointed by the president’s veto of WRDA, and I want to reiterate the very clear statement I made when the WRDA veto threat was first announced in August; I will enthusiastically work to override this veto. 
“In fact, I led 21 other Senate Republicans on a letter recently sent to the president encouraging him to sign WRDA into law.  With the commitments to WRDA I secured in this letter, I am 100 percent confident that we can override this veto.

“Two years ago, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita devastated the Gulf Coast, and the federal levees buckled under the intense storm surge.  This WRDA bill contains critical authorizations that repair and strengthen those levees in addition to updating, improving and streamlining the bureaucracy of the Army Corps of Engineers.  It also provides critical infrastructure for all other parts of the state including bank protection and flood prevention for the Ouachita and Black Rivers, deepening access for the port of Iberia while improving flood protection for Vermillion Parish and solving dredging problems on the Calcasieu River.
“The U.S. Congress has not passed a substantive water resources bill in more than seven years.  If the president and his administration are serious about addressing the infrastructure problems all over the country – from the Gulf Coast to the recent tragedy in Minnesota – then vetoing WRDA sends the wrong message,” said Vitter.

WASHINGTON -- United States Sen. Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., made the following statement after President Bush vetoed the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA).

As soon as the veto was confirmed, Sen. Landrieu spoke with Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. The House of Representatives must act first under constitutional procedure, but Sen. Reid promised Sen. Landrieu he would move to schedule a Senate vote to override the veto at the earliest opportunity following action by the House.

The Senate passed the WRDA conference report 81-12, and the House voted 381-40. A two-thirds majority of each chamber is needed for an override.

Sen. Landrieu said:

"The President today vetoed a bipartisan bill that provides critical coastal protection and strengthens avenues of commerce all over the country. This protection from natural catastrophes underpins Louisiana's recovery from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

"The Senate and House decided to put an end to the tedious seven year wait and voted overwhelmingly for this bill that includes wetland protection, flood protection and levee repair and construction, and dredging of our navigable waters and ports.

"For Louisiana, the bill authorizes a $7 billion investment in protecting our communities from future storms rising in the Gulf. It is truly an historic commitment to coastal restoration in our state.

"I am disappointed that the President chose to veto this critical legislation, but I stand united with the Louisiana delegation to work to override the veto in the House and Senate. With so much on the line for our state, we will fight to enact this vital bill with or without the President's consent."

View other articles written Allen Lottinger

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