[StBernard] Landrieu Fights to Increase Corps Funding in Economic Stimulus Legislation

Westley Annis Westley at da-parish.com
Tue Jan 27 22:21:17 EST 2009

Landrieu Fights to Double Corps Funding in Economic Stimulus Legislation

Pushes Senate to improve barracks for single Army soldiers.

WASHINGTON - During today's Senate Appropriations Committee markup of the
economic stimulus package, Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., urged the Senate to
significantly increase funding dedicated to the Army Corps of Engineers. The
legislation, which the Committee approved today, contains $4.6 billion for
Corps projects nationwide. Sen. Landrieu called that figure "woefully
inadequate" and is seeking to double Corps funding by offering an amendment
when the stimulus bill is considered by the full Senate.

"I believe the $4.6 billion in this bill is woefully inadequate and
dangerously underfunded," Sen. Landrieu said. "I do not use those words
lightly. Just three and a half years ago, more than 1,800 people lost their
lives because of the levees that should have held but did not. A great flood
ensued. I believe that Democratic and Republican administrations over time
have underfunded the Corps so I do not come at this in a partisan way. But I
do come at it as a Senator who has experienced, unfortunately, the
first-hand horror of underfunding the Corps of engineers."

The State of Louisiana has identified $6.2 billion in authorized Corps
projects that meet the criteria of "shovel ready." These projects would
provide critical flood protection and ecosystem restoration for the national
energy infrastructure that lies along Louisiana's coast.

Nationwide, the $4.6 billion in Corps funding in the current economic
stimulus package would address just seven percent of the $61 billion backlog
of authorized projects. In addition, the Corps is responsible for
constructing and maintaining locks and dams on the over 12,000 miles of
commercially active inland and intracoastal waterways, which carry $300
billion in commerce annually. It is estimated that nearly $15 billion is
needed to put the nation's inland waterway navigation system in working

"We are repeating the same mistakes that led to the devastating loss of life
and destruction of property resulting from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita,"
Sen. Landrieu said. "I understand the need to move quickly on projects, but
the overall funding for the Corps of Engineers fails to address the $61
billion backlog in Corps projects across the country, and particularly in
Louisiana. For decades, we have underfunded critical flood protection and
water resource infrastructure, and thousands of my constituents paid the
price with their lives. We must commit to adequately supporting the Corps.
That should start with increasing funding for the Corps in this economic
stimulus package."

Sen. Landrieu also plans to offer an amendment on the Senate floor which
would require the Army to establish three pilot projects to privatize
barracks for single soldiers of all ranks living on America's military
bases. The Navy has already adopted a similar plan to modernize its housing
for junior enlisted single soldiers.

"The conditions of the barracks for many single soldiers are deplorable and
simply unacceptable," said Sen. Landrieu. "We must honor all of our
volunteer service members in the U.S. Army by providing them with first-rate
facilities and housing, regardless of their marital status. Allowing the
private sector to take the lead in barracks acquisition and construction
will also create jobs, particularly in rural parts of our nation. We are
getting ready to pass a stimulus of $865 billion and we cannot find $120
million to upgrade the barracks of soldiers returning from Iraq and
Afghanistan? We must work together to resolve this issue when the bill is
considered by the full Senate."

Audio of Sen. Landrieu's comments about the lack of Corps of Engineers
funding in the stimulus bill is now available:


Audio of Sen. Landrieu's comments on the need for improved Army barracks is
now available:


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