11: 21 a.m.
The pair spy Rep. John Lewis of Georgia’s
5th Congressional District leaving the
Capitol. As a member of the House Ways
and Means Committee and a powerful
influencer of the Georgia delegation,
Lewis can be a strong ally for the Atlantic
Intracoastal Waterway where it passes
through the Peach State. Winning his vote
on WRDA is important.
11: 10 a.m.
Our team encounters California Rep.
Grace Napolitano, a member of the
House Transportation and Infrastructure
Committee. As Ranking Member on its
Water Resources Subcommittee, she’s
interested in the “boater’s take” on
WRDA. Provisions in the House bill can
help restore California’s Sacramento
River Delta, prime recreational
With Congressional staff from the
relevant committees and Congressional
offices assembled in the hearing room,
the formal hour-long briefing begins
on WRDA. The bill authorizes funding
for U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
dredging operations plus large-scale
projects to restore important aquatic
ecosystems, such as the Florida
Everglades. The Boating Caucus, made
up of 135 members of Congress who
support the boating industry and
recreational boaters, is key to getting
passage before Congress adjourns.
Kennedy checks in by phone with our
BoatU.S. lobbyist in Florida about a
just-concluded Florida Fish and Wildlife
Conservation Commission meeting.
Proposed changes to managing critical
wildlife areas in the state could affect
boater access. Obstacle or opportunity?
Too early to tell.
The briefing concludes. Our BoatU.S.
Government Affairs staff now shifts
to one-on-one conversations with
Congressional staff who have questions
about the need to pass the bill. Neuhoff
makes the case for more House members to sign on to the letter from Rep.
Mark Sanford of South Carolina seeking
support for the reauthorization.
Kennedy and Neuhoff head to the Senate
side of Capitol Hill. This is familiar turf
for our BoatU.S. Government Affairs
10: 35 a.m.
Kennedy and Neuhoff meet with Rep.
Mick Mulvaney, 5th Congressional
District of South Carolina. He and his
delegation have keen interest in dredging and can play a key role in advancing WRDA in the House. In December,
Mulvaney was named director of the
Office of Management and Budget.
Between appointments, Neuhoff checks
activity on a BoatU.S. Government Affairs
Action Alert our team is circulating to
BoatU.S. members. It calls for public comments on new Hudson River commercial
anchorages that could conflict with boating. Our members are engaged, and the
tally’s still climbing.
10: 20 a.m.
Before leaving the hearing room, Kennedy
and Neuhoff confer with colleagues regarding state boating issues raised during the
National Association of State Boating Law
Administrators annual meeting Kennedy
had just attended in Seattle. Front-and-center topics included state-mandated
boater education as well as boat inspections for invasive species.