House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) says that Congress should not pass a Water Resources Development Act in 2010.  Boehner's statement, which came during an April 22 press conference at the Capitol, is in line with House Republicans' pledge not to request any specific earmarked projects in legislation this year.

But House and Senate Democrats, and some Senate Republicans, haven't taken a no-earmark pledge, and the chairs of the committees responsible for drafting a new WRDA are going ahead with plans for a bill.

WRDA measures, which authorize funds for Army Corps of Engineers river locks and dams, harbor dredging, environmental restoration and other civil works, historically contain lengthy lists of projects, which help generate bipartisan support for those bills.

In other WRDA developments, Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chair Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) on April 20 wrote to her colleagues asking for their "priority water resources requests" for projects that they would like to see included in a new WRDA.  The letter also was signed by the committee's top Republican, James Inhofe of Oklahoma.

Boxer said, "I look forward to working with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to move forward with a new Water Resources Development Act this year. Water infrastructure investment is a proven job creator."

The current WRDA was enacted in November 2007 when Republicans joined House and Senate Democrats to override President George W. Bush's veto. That measure authorized more than $23 billion for about 900 projects.

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, the prime WRDA committee  in that chamber, has begun working on its version of the bill. Committee Chairman James Oberstar (D-Minn.) said the panel has received more than 2,000 requests from lawmakers for projects and studies to be included in the new WRDA measure.

Oberstar also said that some Republicans have withdrawn their project requests after their party leaders called for a moratorium on earmarks.

Besides the anti-project stance of House Republicans, the tight legislative schedule during this election year is working against enactment of a WRDA before the current Congress ends.