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Locks and Dam Bill Put on Hold

Congressional referees can't work out compromise on Water Resources and Development Act.

The Water Resources and Development Act will have to wait until next year in Congress, as representatives were unable to work out a compromise Wednesday.

The legislation would have helped to build 1,200 foot locks and restore ecosystems on the Upper Mississippi and Illinois Rivers. The House version would have authorized $11 billion, while the Senate WRDA bill added $2 billion for post-Hurricane Katrina projects in Louisiana.

Despite bipartisan support in both houses - the Senate passed its version in July and the House passed its bill before Katrina, in July 2005. According to a spokesman for Senate Environment and Public Works Chairman James Inhofe, R-Okla., those working on the bill simply ran out of time.

The National Corn Growers Association issued a statement expressing disappointment that WRDA did not pass in the lame-duck session but offering hope that it may pass in the next Congress. Rep. James Oberstar, D-Minn., says he will make WRDA a top priority next year when he takes over chairmanship of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

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