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RCB_20130904_LEVEE_0083.JPGThe House of Representatives will consider a water infrastructure bill next week that would authorize the completion of levee improvements in Sacramento, a vote delayed by the now 16-day-old partial government shutdown.

A bipartisan agreement reached Wednesday in the Senate virtually assured the government would reopen and that Congress would raise the federal debt limit just in time to avert a default on its obligations.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia told House Republicans in a closed-door meeting Wednesday that the chamber would vote on the Water Resources, Reform and Development Act next week.

The legislation has been a top priority for California lawmakers, especially Rep. Doris Matsui, D-Sacramento, and Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif. It was approved unanimously last month by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. The Senate overwhelmingly approved a similar bill in May.

The bill, the first of its kind in six years, would authorize the long-delayed completion of the Natomas Levee Improvement Project. It also would move forward a variety of water infrastructure projects across the country, including improvements to ports and inland waterways, and protections against coastal and inland flooding.

In a statement Wednesday after Senate leaders reached a compromise on reopening the government and raising the debt limit, Boxer, the chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, said the deal came together "not a moment too soon."

"Relief doesn't begin to describe my feelings at this moment," said Boxer, who was not among the 14 senators who brokered the bipartisan agreement.

"Now that we have moved past this calamitous government shutdown, I am pleased the House has announced that its water resources bill will be considered on the floor next week," she said. "We want to get to conference on this critical job creating legislation as soon as possible so that we can reconcile the House and Senate versions and get it to the president's desk."

PHOTO: Cory Hottman takes a late afternoon run with his dog, Kru, on top of the levee in his Pocket neighborhood in Sacramento on Thursday, Sept. 4, 2013. The Sacramento Bee/ Renée C. Byer.


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