Vote NO on the Young-Petri Amendment to WRRDA
On behalf of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), I ask that you oppose the Young-Petri amendment (#21) to the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2013 (WRRDA). While TTD supports the underlying legislation, Young-Petri would unnecessarily require the Army Corps of Engineers to contract with private firms for surveying and mapping services, and jeopardize the jobs of qualified, public service professionals.
This amendment would do nothing to improve the efficiency or flexibility for Corps surveying and mapping responsibilities. In fact, the Corps already contracts extensively with the private sector for these services. The decision as to when it is appropriate to use their own staff, a public agency or a private contractor for this work should remain with the Corps’ leadership who understand the needs of specific projects. Should this amendment be adopted, Congress would be creating a special set-aside for the private firms in this industry and tying the hands of the experts and specialists who manage these projects. In addition, the amendment would set a bad precedent and is contrary to recent legal and regulatory efforts to ensure “special consideration” of using federal employees instead of contractors.
WRRDA is an important piece of legislation that will bring much needed investment and reform to our nation’s water infrastructure. However, Young-Petri will have a negative effect on the Corps’ ability to use best judgment and practices when performing critical surveying and mapping duties and it will deal a devastating blow to those professionals who currently perform that work. I urge you to vote no on this amendment and preserve the integrity and bipartisan principles in the underlying bill.