Posted by Matt Dempsey 2:20pm ET



Writing in last weekend’s Oklahoman
, Senator Inhofe continued to make his case in support of the re-authorization of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA). Senator Inhofe took the opportunity to respond to President Bush’s criticism about “excessive spending” in WRDA, writing:

 “The president has cited "excessive spending” as his motivation for the potential veto. But as I continue to point out, and as The Oklahoman did in a recent editorial, the fact is the WRDA bill is not a spending bill, it is an authorizing bill. It simply sets out which projects and programs are allowed to get in line for future funding. While the bill is not perfect, it makes significant progress in addressing our water resources needs in a responsible manner. Infrastructure is an essential part of our nation's economy and its importance should not be understated.

Senator Inhofe then asked readers to keep two points in mind:

“First, I am a staunch fiscal conservative, but I am not apologetic about increased spending on our nation's defense and infrastructure needs. Second, this bill doesn't spend a dime. It's an authorizing bill that sets criteria for projects. Without this bill, Senate appropriators would be turned loose to ram earmarks through with no discipline at all.”

In addition, Janet Pearson, associate editor with the Tulsa World, praises Senator Inhofe’s efforts on WRDA in her Sunday column. She writes:

"Thanks to the efforts of U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe and others, water development projects soon could be sprinkled throughout the state, vastly improving critically needed infrastructure, expanding and improving water supplies and irrigation sources, and opening the way for major lakeside developments that could bring new life to flagging communities."

Pearson then dismisses the argument made by some that WRDA is a “pork” bill:

“Are these projects just pork, as some detractors suggest? Not if you live in a community that literally faced the loss of its water supply during the recent drought. Should these projects be locally funded? If that were possible, maybe. But any local leader will testify that mandate after mandate has drained local resources to the point the money just isn't there. A former Tulsa mayor, Inhofe is keenly aware of the limited resources cities face, which no doubt is one reason he pushed this measure. Inhofe's conservative credentials surely are as good as anyone's, so the argument this bill is laden with unnecessary pork just doesn't hold water. (Sorry.) That won't stop the charges of the "born-again conservatives," as he describes them, who won't support these justifiable, much-needed infrastructure improvements. But we here in Tulsa, and Lawton, and Duncan, and Waurika, and Wilburton, and Bethany, and Woodward, and Disney, and Durant (etc., etc.) know better.”

The Oklahoman also came out in their support of Senator Inhofe’s support of WRDA. In their editorial last week, Water Works: Ill-Timed Veto Might Backfire On Bush, the Oklahoman said the president should re-consider his veto-threat of WRDA. The editorial states:

“We understand both sides of the argument. The White House says there's too much spending being authorized and that a number of projects are outside the purview of the federal government. White House officials contend ‘fiscal irresponsibility’ should be addressed when it surfaces. But the administration's ability to fend off ill-conceived spending later on will be weakened if the president's veto — premature in Inhofe's opinion — is overwhelmingly overridden. There's no question the water bill contains money for important projects. As Casteel reports, Inhofe got $30 million included to complete relocation of Tar Creek-area residents, as well as a provision that would save Edmond $10 million in its Arcadia Lake dispute with the Corps of Engineers. The real issue is keeping worthy projects on track while weeding out those of questionable merit, an effort Inhofe believes will be hampered by an early, unsuccessful veto. We think he's right.”



Read Senator Inhofe’s Press Release and Floor Statement
Read Senator Inhofe’s Op-Ed: Water Project Bills Important
Read Janet Pearson column: Water, Water Everywhere
Read The Oklahoman Editorial: Ill-Timed Veto Might Backfire On Bush