The Central Utah Project reauthorization bill, which passed the House early Tuesday morning by a 68-vote margin, was stalled in the Senate Wednesday while competing interests attempted to work out differences over the measure.
The $894 million CUP portion of the bill was apparently not a question. Other titles added to the measure were targets of a variety of attacks. The Bush Administration said it was displeased with a South Dakota project added to the bill, and might veto it. Sen. James McClure, R-Idaho, was opposed to stringent reclamation reform provisions desired by Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., and Miller insisted on a majority of his reforms.Sen. Bill Bradley, D-N.J., chairman of the Senate Water and Power Subcommittee, had a number of problems with the bill, all of which must be worked out.
Sen. Jake Garn, R-Utah, and Rep. Wayne Owens, D-Utah, spent much of the day on the phones trying to cement a workable compromise.
Unless the senators are satisfied, one could put a short-term hold on the bill that would prevent its passage before Congress adjourns, probably next week.