Finally, after years of political haggling, the Delta Queen, an historic American steamboat, finally got the green light from the U.S. Senate to once again navigate the Mighty Mississippi River and her tributaries. The Senate gave its approval by an 85-12 margin according to Delta Caucus Director Lee Powell.

Finally, after years of political haggling, the Delta Queen, an historic American steamboat, finally got the green light from the U.S. Senate to once again navigate the Mighty Mississippi River and her tributaries. The Senate gave its approval by an 85-12 margin according to Delta Caucus Director Lee Powell.

Powell said the bill now goes to the House, where a similar bill passed by a 289-90 vote back in 2013. The current bill, added Powell, had stalled in the Senate until the April 3 vote.

Senators John Boozman and Tom Cotton, Republicans from Arkansas, Senators Claire McCaskill, Democrat, Roy Blunt, Republican from Missouri and Senator Mitch McConnell, R-KY, were cited among the key sponsors and leaders in the vote.

"We praise the Senate for this action," commented Powell. "The Delta Caucus has joined forces with the National Trust for Historic Preservation and many other Delta Queen advocates for years now. The Delta Caucus has lobbied for many years for this vote."

By placing the Delta Queen back on the river, an estimated 150 new jobs will be created, continued Powell. It will generate tourist dollars in the 80 river ports where it will stop. Delta Queen ports of call will include Helena, New Orleans, Natchez and Greenville, Mississippi, Pine Bluff, Little Rock, Memphis, Tennessee, Cape Girardeau, Missouri, Cincinnati, Ohio and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

The Delta Queen has been designated a National Historic Landmark. According to Cornel Martin, owner of the Delta Queen Steamboat Co., the historical vessel has an "exemplary" safety record dating back 80 years.

"Allowing the iconic Delta Queen to operate again will promote job creation and allow tourists to experience this historic treasure while supporting the economies of communities along the Mississippi River," stated Boozman.

"With the Delta Queen's rich history and the potential for new economic growth along the Mississippi River, this legislation has earned staunch support year after year," said U.S. Representative Rick Crawford, R-AR. "I have confidence that the House will pass the Delta Queen bill, and we will see her cruise on America's major waterways once again."

Powell stressed that the bill spends no federal money but just permits the Delta Queen to operate on American rivers once again.

"The Delta Queen offers Americans and international visitors the last opportunity to cruise on an authentic 1927 steamboat to see firsthand the natural landscapes along the Mississippi and other majestic rivers, and help preserve the great legacy of steam-boating in America," said Martin.

Martin's steamboat company is currently conducting extensive renovations to the boat, which has been docked near New Orleans for almost six years. Martin said the Queen needs upgrades to get into the traveling mode after having been stationary so long. New boilers and generators will be installed. She must also pass a rigorous safety inspection the Coast Guard will conduct before it can move one inch off the dock.

If the companion House bill, recently introduced by Rep. Steve Chabor, R-Ohio, passes, the headquarters will move just south of St. Louis, Missouri.