In the News
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
12:30p.m. – 2:30p.m.
City Council Chambers
100 E. Carolina Ave.
Hartsville, SC 29550
Congressman Rice Darlington Mobile Office Hours
1p.m. – 3p.m.
410 Pearl Street
Darlington, SC 29532
Congressman Rice Dillon Mobile Office Hours
City Council Chamber
401 West Main St.
Dillon SC 29536
Congressman Rice Latta Mobile Office Hours
1p.m. – 3p.m.
Town Council Chambers
107 NW Railroad Ave.
Latta, SC 29565
Oct 22 2013
"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
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