As the 111th Congress enters into a lame duck session, significant water-related legislation has yet to be acted upon. While the Water Quality Investment Act of 2009 (H.R. 1262), passed by the House in March, 2009, authorizes funding for the State Revolving Fund, the Senate version of this legislation (S.1005), has not been passed due to differences on the Davis-Bacon (Fair Wage) requirement as well as funding allocation to states. The prospect for agreement on these issues in the lame duck session is not clear. Also, the clean water legislative agenda for the 112th Congress is uncertain at this time. For example, SRF authorization levels may be revisited due to deficit considerations, especially considering the expected passage of the Highway Bill in the 112th Congress.
Both the Senate and House versions of The Chesapeake Clean Water and Ecosystem Restoration Act of 2009, known as the Cardin Bill (S.1816) in the Senate with the companion House version known as the Cummings Bill (H.R. 3852), have been referred to respective subcommittees and have not moved out of these bodies; however, the Cardin Bill has been included in a larger omnibus package of land, water and wildlife bills that is being seriously considered by Congressional leadership. While this package will increase the likelihood of passage of the Cardin Bill, the increasingly crowded list of legislation in the lame duck session will limit the certainty of successful passage.
Regarding EPA FY2011 appropriation, it has been widely reported that a goal to reach bipartisan consensus on an all-inclusive spending measure has failed and that it is more likely that the lame duck Congress will approve legislation to finance the government into early 2011, when the 112th Congress can take up final FY2011 appropriations for EPA and other government agencies.