WASHINGTON, March 12 A sweeping water and sewer
bill currently in the U.S. House of Representatives would cost
the federal government $10.6 billion over the next five years
and $17.7 billion over the decade, the Congressional Budget
Office said on Thursday.
The Water Quality Investment Act of 2009 would authorize
$18.7 billion through 2014 for state revolving fund clean water
programs that make grants and low-cost loans to water
authorities and for other state and federal programs to clean
Along with direct spending on water projects the federal
government would lose some revenue on the debt that the water
funds would take on, as any bonds would pay interest exempt
from federal taxation, the CBO said. The measure also includes
The office, a nonpartisan agency that calculates budget
effects of legislation, said those reductions would equal $700
million through 2019, but an increase on the tonnage charges on
ships entering the United States, which is also part of the
bill, would make up for the loss.
The CBO raised the prohibition against unfunded mandates,
which bars the federal government from forcing states to
implement costly programs without helping out financially. The
office said states' costs of complying with reporting
requirements in the bill would exceed the threshold of $69
million allowed by the unfunded mandates law.
Ultimately, though, the CBO said the bill would be
considered "pay-go," meaning that any money spent would be
covered by revenue and the bill would not contribute to the
The act passed out of committee last week and will now be
considered by the full House.
(Reporting by Lisa Lambert; Editing by James Dalgleish)