The U.S. House of Representatives today overwhelmingly passed the Water Resources Reform and Development Act which could mean money which means money could be coming for the much needed dredging of channel leading to the Port of Georgetown.
The vote today by the House was the first since Congress abandoned the policy of using earmarks and a bill that U.S. Rep. Tom Rice says is good for South Carolina’s ports.


He told the Associated Press it was a “historic” vote since the bill was the first test of the new allocation system after earmarks.
The measure authorizes the Appropriations Committee to allocate money for harbor projects from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund that brings in $1.8 billion a year from port users. The Senate earlier passed its own version of the bill.


The House version includes a provision Rice helped insert to help smaller ports like Georgetown. For the next two fiscal years, it allocates 10 percent of Trust Fund expenditures for improvements at ports handling less than 1 million tons of cargo annually.
Currently, such smaller ports can’t get the money.


“Georgetown is caught in a Catch 22,” said Rice, a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. “At one time, Georgetown had more than a million tons of cargo, which would have allowed them to use harbor maintenance funds,” he said. “But when the steel mill closed down temporarily, they lost their tonnage and the river silted in. They couldn’t get it dredged until they got the tonnage back up, and they couldn’t get the tonnage back up until they got it dredged.”


That dredging should cost about $30 million and Rice said he will make his case to the Corps of Engineers that the project is worthwhile once the bill is passed. Currently Georgetown Steel brings in ore by ship through Wilmington and then by rail to Georgetown. That ore could be brought in locally by ship if the port were dredged.


The act authorizes spending on 26 waterway and harbor improvement projects nationwide. They are not earmarks because they were not inserted by individual members of Congress.


The bill allows engineering and construction on projects receiving final Corps approval after the act is approved to move forward using local or state funds. Port agencies then can later apply for federal reimbursement.


Currently, only about half the money raised by the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund each year goes to water projects. The bill requires that by 2020, 80 percent of the money be used for such projects.

The Post and Courier contributed to this report

 

FLORENCE (WBTW) - A member of Congressman Tom Rice's outreach team will be on hand to help constituents seek updates on Social Security benefits and Veterans Affairs claims.  Constituents can also express their views on federal issues and how they think Congressman Rice should proceed.  No appointment necessary, first come first served.
For more information, call Congressman Rice's Florence office at 843-679-9781.    

Congressman Rice Hartsville Mobile Office Hours
October 23
12:30p.m. – 2:30p.m.
City Council Chambers
100 E. Carolina Ave.
Hartsville, SC 29550

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October 24
1p.m. – 3p.m.
410 Pearl Street
Darlington, SC 29532

Congressman Rice Dillon Mobile Office Hours
October 29
City Council Chamber
1p.m.-3p.m.
401 West Main St.
Dillon SC 29536

Congressman Rice Latta Mobile Office Hours
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Town Council Chambers
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Latta, SC 29565

"This is the first test of the new allocation system after earmarks," the Republican lawmaker representing the 7th District told The Associated Press on Tuesday. "This is a pretty historic thing."

The measure authorizes the Appropriations Committee to allocate money for harbor projects from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund that brings in $1.8 billion a year from port users. The Senate earlier passed its own version of the bill.

The House version includes a provision Rice helped insert to help smaller ports like Georgetown. For the next two fiscal years, it allocates 10 percent of Trust Fund expenditures for improvements at ports handling less than 1 million tons of cargo annually.

Currently, such smaller ports can't get the money.

"Georgetown is caught in a Catch 22," said Rice, a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

"At one time, Georgetown had more than a million tons of cargo which would have allowed them to use harbor maintenance funds," he said. "But when the steel mill closed down temporarily they lost their tonnage and the river silted in. They couldn't get it dredged until they got the tonnage back up and they couldn't get the tonnage back up until they got it dredged."

That dredging should cost about $30 million and Rice said he will make his case to the Corps of Engineers that the project is worthwhile once the bill is passed. Currently Georgetown Steel brings in ore by ship through Wilmington and then by rail to Georgetown. That ore could be brought in locally by ship if the port were dredged.

The act authorizes spending on 26 waterway and harbor improvement projects nationwide. They are not earmarks because they were not inserted by individual members of Congress.

The deepening of the Charleston Harbor shipping channel, which could cost as much as $350 million, is not included because a final report from the Corps determining if the project is in the nation's interest has not been completed. Studies of the project are still underway.

But Rice, members of the state's congressional delegation and lawmakers from other states inserted language to make sure such projects keep moving forward.

It allows engineering and construction on projects receiving final Corps approval after the act is approved to move forward using local or state funds. Port agencies can then later apply for federal reimbursement.

Currently, only about half the money raised by the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund each year goes to water projects. The bill requires that by 2020, 80 percent of the money be used for such projects.

By BRUCE SMITH
Associated Press

October 16, 2013 – Myrtle Beach, S.C. – Ithaca Gun Company, an Ohio-based firearms manufacturer announced today their decision to expand their manufacturing operations to the Myrtle Beach area. Since 1883, Ithaca has been an American leader in the development and manufacturing of premiere multiple gauge shotguns and the venerable Model 1911 pistol. The company's current ownership has made additional advances in world-class quality and state-of-the-art gun manufacturing.
 
The project will consist of a capital investment of approximately $6.7 million dollars plus the creation of 120 new high-skilled jobs. These high skilled jobs will include machine operators, gunsmiths, engineers and assemblers that will earn wages significantly higher than the Horry County average wage.
 
Ithaca will construct a new 20,000 square foot facility at Horry County's Cool Springs Business Park located near Aynor, S.C. Their new facility will be located adjacent to the new manufacturing headquarters of PTR Industries allowing for two of the nation's most respected firearms manufacturers to operate in the same business park.
At this new facility, the company will focus on the rollout of a new over-and-under shotgun, their historic single barrel trap shotgun that already has significant U.S. market demand, and a complete barrel line.
 
Factors that contributed to the company's site selection included the quantity and quality of the Myrtle Beach regional labor force, proximity to technical colleges in Conway and Florence, plus South Carolina's pro 2nd Amendment culture and the world-class quality of life in the Myrtle Beach area.
 
In addition to the Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Corporation, this project involved close coordination with the staff of the North Eastern Strategic
Alliance (NESA), the staff of the Southeastern Institute of Manufacturing and Technology (SIMT) located in Florence, SC, the South Carolina Department of Commerce, Horry County Council staff and leadership, Santee Cooper, members of the Horry County state delegation, and the staff of Horry-Georgetown Technical College.
 
Quotes from Company, Federal, State, and Local Officials
 
Mike Farrell, Ithaca Gun Company COO
"We are delighted to be a part of the growing firearms manufacturing industry in the Myrtle Beach area, and we extend our thanks to all the parties that helped us with this decision. We look forward to being under production in 2014 and being a part of the Horry County and South Carolina community."
 
U.S. Congressman Tom Rice
"I continue to be amazed at the accomplishments of the Myrtle Beach Regional EDC's staff, board and team. I also can't think of a finer company in America or a better fit for the Seventh Congressional District than the Ithaca Gun Company. Congratulations to everyone involved in bringing another great manufacturing win to Horry County."
 
Chairman of NESA and South Carolina State Senator Yancey McGill
"Today's Ithaca Gun Company expansion signifies the great environment present in not only the NESA region, but in South Carolina as a whole." I'd like to thank Ithaca Gun Company, Horry County, NESA, the Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Corporation, the Southeastern Institute of Manufacturing and the South Carolina Department of Commerce for their resolute determination in pursuing this project and making the creation of 120 jobs and $6.5 million in investment possible. When you have businesses with the notoriety of Ithaca Gun Company expanding in our area, it says a lot about the business climate of our region and certainly shows we're headed in the right direction."
 
South Carolina State Representative Mike Ryhal
"This was a tremendous effort by the EDC and adds another solid employer to Horry County. I had the opportunity to visit Ithaca at their current manufacturing location in Sandusky and quickly recognized them as a competitive company committed to delivering a precision made American built product. The addition of 120 jobs will have a ripple effect throughout our area and benefit all of us. I appreciate the opportunity of being involved in this project and commend Brad Lofton and the EDC for their efforts."
 
Horry County Council Chairman Mark Lazarus
"Today is yet another great day for economic development in Horry County, and I am proud to be a part of the team that helped recruit this great American company to our community. I am anxiously looking forward to seeing them build their legacy shotguns right here on the Grand Strand!"

 

Congressman Tom Rice is recalling his staff back to work now that the House of Representatives voted unanimously on Saturday to retroactively pay all furloughed federal workers.

He had issued a rolling furlough for his staff but now he wants them back so they can continue serving the 7th Congressional District.

"My office runs on as little money as possible to properly serve my constituents. While I believe that all my staff is essential, because other federal employees will be affected across the country, I instituted a rolling furlough for my staff members. Since the House of Representatives voted unanimously on Saturday to retroactively pay all furloughed federal workers, I have called back all of my staff so we can best serve South Carolina's Seventh Congressional District," Rice said.

Click here to view a list of the government agencies and programs impacted by the shutdown; however, this list does not include everything.

"Again, I do not want a government shutdown, and tried hard to avoid one but the House and Senate were not able to reach an agreement. I will continue to work on bipartisan solutions with my colleagues across the aisle and the Democrat-led Senate."

For questions, you can call 843-445-6459, 843-679-9781, or 202-225-9895.

By Taylor Williams