$20 million federal allocation for Jackson water clears House of Representatives

Sen. Hyde-Smith speaks on the Senate floor previously.
Sen. Hyde-Smith speaks on the Senate floor previously.
Published: Sep. 30, 2022 at 1:37 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Jackson will soon have an additional $20 million to help address its water infrastructure needs.

Friday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 6833, a stopgap measure designed to fund the federal government through December 16.

The continuing resolution included a $20 million allocation for Jackson water, which was placed in the measure by Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, who sits on the Senate’s Appropriations Committee.

“I am pleased my fellow appropriators agreed to provide more resources to correct the serious shortfalls with Jackson’s water and wastewater infrastructure,” she said in a statement earlier this week.

The funding was approved a month after the state took over operations of Jackson’s main water treatment facility after equipment failures there left tens of thousands of people without water.

It also comes as the EPA says it’s prepared to file a complaint against Jackson under the Safe Drinking Water Act.

The bill cleared the House on a 230-201 vote. Mississippi Reps. Michael Guest, Trent Kelly, and Steven Palazzo, all three Republicans, voted against the measure. Rep. Bennie Thompson, a Democrat, voted in favor.

Guest cited inflation concerns as his reason for voting against the bill. He also says the continuing resolution “did not address the situation on a long-term basis.”

“I continue to be committed to working with local, state, and federal leaders to help with long-term solutions to the Jackson water system problem,” he said. “The continuing resolution included concerning levels of spending and a risk for additional inflation that the people of our state cannot afford.”

On the Senate side, the bill was approved on a 72-25 vote Thursday, with Sens. Hyde-Smith and Roger Wicker both signing on.

“I recognize this funding will not be enough to address the long-standing water infrastructure issues in Jackson, but this is a good start,” Wicker said in his own statement.

The bill is now expected to go to the president’s desk for his signature. It was not known when President Joe Biden would sign the legislation. The government was slated to run out of money by midnight Friday.

Under provisions, 6833 provides enough funding to maintain government spending at its current levels, as well as money for a low-income home heating program, New Mexico wildfire relief, and $20 million for the city of Jackson, according to a September 27 article from National Public Radio.

As for the $20 million, it will go to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which will work in partnership with the city to determine how the funding would be used. The Corps received $5 million for Jackson water as part of the 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

It was not known when the Corps would receive the money or what projects the funding would go toward. Officials with the Corps’ Vicksburg District were not available for comment.

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