This was a vote on an amendment by Rep. Mazie Hirono (D-HI) that would increase funding by $3 million for a program designed to prevent flooding and soil erosion. This amendment was offered to legislation providing annual funding for Agriculture Department programs.
The underlying agriculture bill eliminated all federal funding for this program, which had previously been funded jointly by the federal government and state governments. Hirono’s amendment would have provided $3 million for the program.
Hirono urged support for her amendment: “The Watershed and Flood Control Program provides for cooperation between the federal government, states, and localities to prevent erosion, flood water, and sediment damage. This is also a vital program to further the development, utilization, and disposal of water. It also helps to further the conservation and utilization of land and authorized watersheds. Watershed improvements under this program are cost-shared between the federal government and local governments. I think that's a good thing….I don't think it is fair to leave these local governments holding the bag while the federal government just walks away from these commitments. Even shutting down projects of course costs money, and we can't leave them just halfway done on these projects. How can we just walk away from these projects before realizing the economic and environmental benefits they were designed to deliver?”
No Republicans spoke in opposition to Hirono’s amendment, but a majority of Republicans voted against it.
The House agreed to this amendment by a vote of 288-132. Voting “yea” were 181 Democrats and 107 Republicans. 129 Republicans voted “nay.” As a result, the House agreed to an amendment that would provide by $3 million for a program designed to prevent flooding and soil erosion. In order for federal funding for this flood prevention program to continue, however, the Senate would have to vote to maintain funding for it. At the time the House passed this amendment, it was unclear whether the Senate would vote to continue the program.