Posts filed under Garrett Graves

Corps of Engineers Reform Bill Headed to White House

 Photo source: Wikipedia 

Photo source: Wikipedia 

WASHINGTON, DC – Landmark legislation produced under the leadership of House Water Resources Subcommittee Chairman Garret Graves (South Louisiana) to reform the U.S. Corps of Engineers will be signed into law this week. The America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018, which unanimously passed the U.S. House of Representatives on September 13, 2018, will be voted on today in the U.S. Senate, and the president is expected to sign the bill into law later this week.

This is the first Corps reform bill produced with Graves serving as chairman over the House Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee, which has jurisdiction over the Corps of Engineers, Environmental Protection Agency and other agencies. 

“On our current trajectory, the Corps will finish its $100 billion of backlogged, federally authorized projects approximately never,” said Graves. “We have to stop pushing paper and start turning dirt. Fundamental changes are needed, and this bill begins moving us in that direction.”

The America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 (AWIA)is the latest in a portfolio of legislative achievements that Graves has been implementing as part of his broader strategy to replace the federal government’s wasteful spending of billions of dollars after disasters with smart, pre-disaster investments that better prepare and protect our communities at a much lower cost to taxpayers. Other strategy components include the Disaster Reform and Recovery Act, which was signed into law last Friday; full funding for the Comite flood protection, West Shore hurricane protection and other important projects announced in July; and Graves’ bill to increase offshore energy revenue sharing funding that passed through the Natural Resources Committee in September. AIWA paves the way for major reforms of how the nation plans, designs, constructs and funds flood control, hurricane protection, navigation, coastal/ecosystem restoration and other projects. 

“This bill is about delivering proactive solutions so that communities actually benefit from projects instead of having to endure decades of studies and inaction,” added Graves.

AIWA focuses on four major themes:

·Cutting the red-tape and bureaucracy associated with Corps of Engineers’ projects

·Preventing redundancies and excessive costs

·Providing greater project roles to state and local governments

·Changing the Corps of Engineers focus from process and procedure to project completion

Provisions inserted in the House and final bill by Graves include:

·Providing the State of Louisiana an estimated $500,000,000 in credit for coastal restoration and other projects in the state. This credit can be used by the state in lieu of cash cost shares required by the state.

·Beginning a process to transition the Corps of Engineers’ mission to a civilian infrastructure agency where it can be a top agency priority.

·Forcing the Corps to disclose internal costs and expenses.

·Requiring a reanalysis of the Old River Control Structure in Louisiana to end the static 70% Mississippi River, 30% Atchafalaya River split of flow. Under the new model, the Corps would migrate toward a dynamic operations plan to maximize navigation, flood control, coastal restoration and other objectives.

·Allowing the state and levee districts to construct authorized Corps projects without re-permitting environmental and other project considerations.

·Eliminating the requirement that the state and levee districts go through a duplicative regulatory and permitting process when building authorized projects without the Corps of Engineers.

Graves continued: “There are literally tens of billions of dollars in authorized Corps of Engineers projects in Louisiana. If we are going to restore our coast and protect our communities, we must change the way these projects are developed and delivered.”

Other Louisiana-centric provisions include (provision sponsors):

·Preventing the purchase of property from private landowners when projects can be constructed using an easement, donation or other less expensive means (Higgins/Graves)

·Expanding upon opportunities to use material dredged from rivers and bayous for coastal restoration (Higgins/Graves)

·Expediting Feasibility Studies and Advancing Project Design:

oJ. Bennett Johnston Waterway project improvements (Abraham/Johnson)

oNorthshore flood risk reduction (Scalise/Cassidy/Kennedy)

oOuachita-Black Rivers navigation improvements (Abraham/Cassidy/Kennedy)

oBaptist’s Collette Bayou channel deepening (Scalise/Cassidy/Kennedy)

oHouma Navigation Canal Deepening (Scalise/Graves/Cassidy/Kennedy)

oExtend the construction deadline for a hydropower facility on the J. Bennett Johnston Waterway (Abraham/Johnson)

“This bill is good for our infrastructure, good for jobs, and good for America,”added Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA).

 

Graves recently secured $3,000,000,000 in new federal funding from five sources to fully fund numerous decades-stalled Corps of Engineers projects in Louisiana. This bill complements those efforts, which will together produce better protection for our homes, communities and businesses; better federal performance; and cost savings to the American people.

Posted on October 10, 2018 and filed under Garrett Graves, Louisiana.

Graves Advances Bill to Increase Louisiana’s Energy Revenues, Funding for Coastal Restoration

 Photo source: Twitter

Photo source: Twitter

WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Garret Graves (R – South Louisiana) advanced legislation out of the House Committee on Natural Resources today that would increase the share of offshore energy revenues for Gulf Coast states.  Graves’ bill would provide a substantial increase in funding for Louisiana’s coastal restoration and flood protection projects. 

“After working on this for 20 years I can tell you:  what happened today is historic,” said Graves. “Moving this bill is a big deal and has enormous implications for South Louisiana.”  

Graves’ H.R. 6771 amends the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act 2006 (GOMESA) to bring Gulf offshore energy revenue sharing in line with levels that onshore energy producing states enjoy – an effort long pursued by Louisiana’s congressional delegation. The bill was considered today in conjunction with the Restore Our Parks and Public Lands Act, which proposed using Gulf offshore energy revenues to address the maintenance backlog of the National Park Service and other agencies across the country.

“Louisiana is battling the largest historical, ongoing and prospective loss of coastal wetlands we’ve ever seen, and it’s a national crisis. Diverting Louisiana’s energy revenues away from efforts to improve the resiliency of the people, communities and ecosystems responsible for generating the resources in the first place is a fundamentally flawed approach to addressing the maintenance backlog in national parks,” said Graves. “Our bill ensures that these increased revenues will be committed to projects that restore the coast, protect our coastal communities from hurricanes and other disaster and, ultimately, reduce our nation’s outrageous disaster response costs.”

For nearly a century federal law has discriminated against coastal energy producing states. While states producing energy onshore federal lands get to retain 50 percent of the energy revenues, coastal states have received a small fraction. H.R. 6771 solves this problem. 

Energy production in the Gulf of Mexico accounts for 18% of total U.S. crude oil production and 4% of total U.S. dry production of natural gas. In 2016 alone, this production generated $2.7 billion in royalty revenue for the U.S. Treasury. Of that amount, only 0.407% ($11 million) was given back to those states through revenue sharing programs.

Click the image below to watch a clip from today’s markup. View the markup in its entirety here.

Posted on September 13, 2018 and filed under Garrett Graves, Louisiana, Oil and Gas.

Graves’ Food Stamp Reform Ideas Head to the US Senate

 Photo source: Wikipedia

Photo source: Wikipedia

Washington, DC – Substantial reforms to the Food Stamp Program that Congressman Garret Graves (South Louisiana) introduced last year through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Reform Act of 2017 advanced in the U.S. House of Representatives today as provisions of the 2018 Farm Bill. With more than 100 cosponsors, support for the SNAP Reform Act amounted to a groundswell of Members who advocated alongside Graves to ensure the legislation’s core reform principles to strengthen work requirements for SNAP recipients were represented in this year’s Farm Bill. 

“Passage of this bill is a win for our farmers and food producers and their ability to continue getting food to the table, and these critical reforms are a win for taxpayers. Moving away from SNAP as a lifestyle and back towards its intended, temporary hand-up by requiring a more proactive approach to work is going to help more people get back on their feet more quickly while getting spending on the program under control,” said Graves. “It’s just wrong that hardworking Americans are having to continue spending a trillion dollars a year through countless poverty programs without much to show for it: we have more people in poverty across the country today than when many of those same programs first started. We have further to go on strengthening these reforms but today is a critical first step.”

The Farm Bill provides certainty for farmers, crop insurers and food manufacturers, authorizing various agriculture and nutrition program for five years. 

Graves added: “No one on either side of the SNAP trap is honestly happy with the current system. Many able-bodied people who are on the program end up frustrated and stuck on its built-in cycle of poverty with no exit ramps. And taxpayers are frustrated about being on the hook for program costs that have basically tripled since the year 2000. We can do more for people; this bill does – by helping connect the unemployed with job opportunities or job skills to reintegrate them into the workforce.”

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Posted on June 22, 2018 and filed under Garrett Graves.

Graves & Abraham to Tax Bill Negotiators: Don’t forget about Louisiana flood victims

 Photo source: ULLA

Photo source: ULLA

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 12, 2017
Contact: Kevin Roig, 202-225-3901

WASHINGTON, DC – Louisiana Congressmen Garret Graves (R-Capital Region) and Ralph Abraham, M.D. (R-Alto) sent a letter today urging Senator Orrin Hatch, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, and Congressman Kevin Brady, Chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means to retain disaster tax relief language in the final product of negotiations currently underway in Washington to resolve differences between House and Senate versions of major tax reform legislation.  The disaster tax relief, which was included by Senators Bill Cassidy and John Kennedy in the Senate’s version of the bill, accomplishes the goals of separate legislation Graves introduced earlier this year - H.R. 2849, the Louisiana Flood and Storm Devastation Act of 2017, which would grant homeowners and individuals emergency tax relief, the ability to withdraw from retirement accounts without incurring penalties, casualty loss provisions, work opportunity tax credits for employers, and relief for certain charitable giving. The bipartisan bill was cosponsored by Congressmen Richmond (D-LA), Abraham and Higgins.

“We aren’t asking for special treatment,” reiterated Graves. “We’re asking for our flood victims to be given the same, common sense relief that disaster victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico were granted after disaster struck those communities.  Too often after disasters, government ends up getting in the way of recovery – this is a chance to actually help recovery and remove nonsensical penalties currently imposed on victims for wanting to take care of themselves.”

Dr. Abraham added, “Louisiana flood victims deserve equal access to disaster tax benefits that have been afforded to other states. Our people are still recovering from two historic floods we suffered last year, and this tax relief will go a long way toward facilitating that recovery.”

Louisiana Congressmen Clay Higgins and Mike Johnson also signed the letter, which can be readhere. You can read more about H.R. 2849 here.

Graves Introduces Common-Sense SNAP Reform Bill

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“We have to restructure incentives to achieve the outcomes we want…”

Washington, DC – Congressman Garret Graves (R-LA) recently introduced the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Reform Act of 2017 to require the program to do more to connect the unemployed with existing job placement and job training opportunities so that more people who are able to work can. Graves introduced the bill to fight poverty, support families and promote self-sufficiency while helping stem the tide of government dependence.

Graves’ legislationbuilds upon the successful track record of mandatory federal work requirements first established in President Bill Clinton’s 1996 “welfare reform,” taking a similar approach to strengthen the work requirements for “able-bodied adults without dependents” who are food stamp recipients through SNAP.

“There are talented people across our country who aren’t pursuing the full potential of their capabilities largely because government incentives make it more profitable in some cases to stay home and collect welfare than to pursue personal growth and responsibility through work,” said Graves. “Government needs to provide a safety net for the vulnerable, but it’s become a lifestyle for some to actively choose government assistance over work – that’s a disservice to those people, the economy and the taxpayer. We have to restructure incentives to achieve the outcomes we want and to get capable people off the sidelines and involved in building America’s future. This bill is a small step toward that goal.”

A job is a powerful tool for getting out of poverty and securing long term prosperity. As such, this bill would reinforce the work requirement for certain able bodied adults with no dependents in order to receive SNAP benefits.

 

Specifically, the bill contains the following provisions –

·        Creates additional opportunities to satisfy the work requirement through a supervised job search.

·        Reduces the number of SNAP recipients exempt from the work requirement.

·        Retains state flexibility for exempting certain individuals from the work requirement.

In 2015, the U.S. government spent over $1 trillion on means-tested welfare aid, providing cash, food, housing, medical care, and social services to poor and low-income individuals.

Graves continued: “Hard times invariably come and when they do, Americans deserve to have peace of mind knowing that there are systems in place to help them get back on their feet – that won’t be the case if the government keeps spending the way it does now. We have to do a better job protecting resources for those truly in need by helping those down on their luck find new opportunities to earn a living.”

The food stamp program is the nation’s second largest means-tested welfare program. The number of food stamp recipients has risen dramatically from about 17.2 million in 2000 to 45.8 million in 2015. Costs have risen from $20.7 billion in fiscal year (FY) 2000 to $83.1 billion in FY 2014.

A number of states in recent years have instituted similar work requirements, helping more people find jobs and producing dramatic declines in food stamp rolls. Alabama, for example, reinstated SNAP work requirements in 13 counties that were exempted after the economic downturn of 2011-2013. Those counties experienced an 85% drop in food stamp participation and a corresponding decrease in unemployment. In one of those counties, the jobless rate was down 11 points in April 2017 compared to April 2011. 

If it becomes law, Graves’ Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Reform Act of 2017 would encourage millions of Americans to get back to work, help end the cycle of poverty for millions dependent on government assistance, and save taxpayers billions of dollars over the next decade.

Posted on June 26, 2017 and filed under Garrett Graves.

Graves Continues to Stay on Top of FEMA Regarding the "Shelter at Home" Program

Representative Garret Graves (LA-06) has continued to keep on top of FEMA and the "Shelter at Home" Program put into place following the floods of the Summer of 2016.  Graves points out several issues that he has with the program's implementation in a recent letter that was sent to FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate.  Highlights of the letter are:

  1. Wasting money on bureaucracy
  2. Inappropriate cap
  3. Forcing the use of certain contractors
  4. Rejecting the "Do It Yourselfers"
  5. Transparency

A copy of the letter sent to Fugate can be found here.

Posted on October 4, 2016 and filed under Garrett Graves, Louisiana.

Garret Graves Eviscerates "Honor Code" Edwards on His Coastal Lawsuit Fiasco

 Photo source: US House of Representatives

Photo source: US House of Representatives

Garret Graves, US Congressman from Louisiana's 6th District, absolutely destroys our Governor, "Honor Code" Edwards, regarding his pursuit to extort money from the oil and gas industry so vital to the Louisiana economy. Graves goes into great detail regarding the impact such a lawsuit would have on our state and the oil and gas industry for which many of our taxpayers rely on for their livelihoods. 

The high point of the letter has to be Graves pointing out political ties with attorneys working on behalf of the state in this suit and Edwards.

"Coastal Louisiana is worth saving - not politicizing or used as a tool to enrich supporters and friends". 

A copy of the letter can be seen here.

Boustany Tours Flood Damage on Congressional Delegation Trip with Garret Graves, Out-of-State Members

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(Baton Rouge, LA) – Dr. Charles Boustany (R-Lafayette) helped lead a congressional delegation trip with Representative Garret Graves (R-Baton Rouge) to Baton Rouge yesterday. The trip included several of the Louisiana congressmen’s out-of-state colleagues to tour flood-damaged areas in Baton Rouge.

Boustany said: “I’m proud to help lead a congressional delegation trip with Garret Graves to Baton Rouge to show our out-of-state colleagues the devastation in this area as our state begins the grueling task of rebuilding. I am committed to working with local, state, and federal officials to get Louisiana back up and running.”