The Water Resources Development Act, authored by U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), would fund efforts to improve flood control, navigation, and storm recovery projects like the Natomas Levee Improvement Program in Sacramento, California. The bill has bipartisan support and passed with a unanimous vote in the Environment and Public Works Committee back in March.
However, some Republicans in the Senate want to expand the focus from being about flood prevention and storm protection to include another issue: guns.
Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) introduced two amendments on Wednesday that deal with the subject of guns in relation to the U.S. Army Corp. of Engineers (USACE).
The first amendment would allow civilians to carry firearms on USACE property. The other amendment would require federal agencies and organizations, including USACE, to report firearms they own, including lost and stolen firearms.
The latter amendment includes a national security exceptions for the Pentagon and the CIA as long as they can convince Congress they have a good reason for not disclosing the information.
Boxer’s bill was initially scheduled to be brought before the Senate floor on Tuesday, but some of the language in the bill’s more controversial provisions was perceived as ambiguous. Boxer intentionally wrote the bill to appeal to Republicans and so far has been very successful, which is the closest thing to a miracle considering the polarization in Congress.
Despite broad support from members of both parties in the Senate, analysts expect that if it does pass the chamber, it will have a tougher time in the U.S. House. The effect Coburn’s amendments will have on the bill’s success in the House among Republicans and Democrats — some of whom were already skeptical of the bill — remains to be seen.