The House on Wednesday voted down a Democratic amendment to a major water resources bill that sought to protect environmental reviews of these projects.

The Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA), H.R. 3080, includes language that seeks to streamline environmental reviews in order to move these projects to the construction phase more quickly. But several Democrats argued that environmental reviews under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) are not the reason why projects are delayed, and said the real reason is a lack of funding that has created a $60 billion backlog of unfunded projects.

DeFazio proposed an amendment that would have delayed the streamlining of environmental rules until the backlog of water is reduced to $20 billion or less.