House Approves $12 Billion-Plus Water Bill

WASHINGTON (AP) -

The House passed the closest thing this year to an infrastructure bill — a $12billion-plus bipartisan measure authorizing 34 water projects, ranging from flood protection in California and North Dakota to deepening the Port of Savannah and widening a Texas-Louisiana waterway that services the oil industry.

The Water Resources Reform and Development Act passed Tuesday on a 412-4 vote. Lawmakers shook off criticism from conservative and watchdog groups like Heritage Action and Taxpayers for Common Sense that argued the bill should have done more to rein in wasteful government spending.

The Senate could vote on the bill before the end of the week, sending it to President Obama for his signature. The legislation is a bipartisan compromise of companion bills passed separately by the House and Senate last year. After months of negotiations, a final deal was reached last week.

Supporters, including business interests like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce hailed, it an economy-boosting measure that could deliver thousands of new jobs.