WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Dwight Evans, D-3rd District, secured House passage of his legislation designed to improve diversity at the nation’s military service academies and his bipartisan legislation to reauthorize a Delaware River basin conservation program.
Both of Evans’ legislative initiatives passed the House as part of the National Defense Authorization Act, considered to be one of the few “must-pass” bills that Congress handles each year.
“The military service academies represent a tremendous opportunity for those interested in serving their country in that way — including a free four-year university education. So I have been working for several years to improve the diversity of the academies’ student population, particularly among applicants from the 3rd Congressional District. I’m very pleased that my amendment was accepted on a voice vote,” Evans said.
Evans’ amendment would modify the Department of Defense’s annual report on demographics of military service academy applicants to identify disparities in demographic categories and identify suspected causes of such disparities within the application or nominating process.
Evans represents the only Pennsylvania congressional district with a majority African-American population. He urged those interested in a service academy nomination to visit his website (evans.house.gov) to begin looking into the process. Those interested can apply now. Oct. 31 is the deadline for 3rd District residents to apply.
The 3rd Congressional District includes Northwest and West Philadelphia and parts of North, South, Southwest and Center City Philadelphia.
In the same bill, Evans also won House passage of his legislation that would continue the Delaware River Basin Restoration Program, which benefits four states — Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and New York. The program was created in 2016 and is set to expire next year — the reauthorization would extend it to 2030. Evans introduced the legislation with Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-1st District, and Lisa Blunt Rochester, D-Del.
“I’m proud to be lead House sponsor of the Delaware River Basin Conservation Reauthorization Act. The restoration program provides invaluable support, through technical and grant assistance, to restoration and protection activities throughout the Delaware River Basin, a vital watershed covering over 13,000 square miles in four states and reaching over 7 million people,” Evans said. “Maintaining the program is essential to protecting ecological diversity, improving water quality and flood damage mitigation, expanding public access and recreation, and generating economic opportunities throughout the mid-Atlantic.”
In addition to renewing the program through 2030, the legislation would bring federal cost-share provisions in line with the new Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act in two ways:
increasing the federal share of projects in small, rural, or disadvantaged communities to 90%; allowing the Secretary of the Interior to waive the cost-share requirement entirely if a grant recipient is determined to be experiencing significant financial hardship.