Pete Buttigieg Defends DOT Budget Request
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A hearing in the U.S. Senate this week to examine the White House’s fiscal 2024 budget request will feature the country’s top transportation officer.
Secretary Pete Buttigieg is scheduled to appear before the transportation appropriations subcommittee March 23 to explain President Joe Biden’s $6.9 trillion budget proposal, which includes the Department of Transportation.
The secretary is among several senior administration officials preparing to appear before lawmakers on Capitol Hill over the next several weeks. According to background the department provided, the request “will build on our tremendous progress by prioritizing important infrastructure improvements, innovative safety interventions, key systems modernizations, and a multitude of new and continuing grant programs that invest in transportation projects that impact American people’s lives.”
Specifically, it would provide $951.3 million for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. That allocation includes $435 million for its safety operations division and $516.3 million for its motor carrier safety grants unit. FMCSA is tasked with regulating commercial vehicles, such as heavy-duty trucks and buses.
“FMCSA’s mission is to save lives by reducing the number and severity of crashes involving large trucks and buses. The agency accomplishes this mission through education, prevention, regulation, enforcement and collaboration with motor carriers and commercial drivers. FMCSA also uses research, innovative technology, and grants to states to achieve a transportation system with safer people, safer roads, safer speeds and safer vehicles,” per the budget document.
It continued that the agency is “responsible for enforcing the federal motor carrier safety regulations, the hazardous materials regulations, and the commercial regulations for motor carriers, commercial drivers and commercial motor vehicles operating in the United States, including those from Mexico and Canada.”
Other Budget Requests
• Federal Highway Administration $60.8 billion
• Federal Transit Administration $17 billion
• Federal Railroad Administration $4.8 billion
• National Highway Traffic Safety Administration $1.3 billion
• Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration $387.3 million
• Port Infrastructure Development Program $230 million
As expected, the president’s budget sparked partisan reactions on Capitol Hill. “President Biden’s budget is a road map for a stronger America that puts working people—not billionaires and giant corporations—first, and sets our country up to thrive in the decades to come,” Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-Wash.) said soon after the budget was released this month. “The president’s plan invests in American families, strengthens Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security for the next generation, and makes our country safer and more competitive — while lowering the deficit and setting us on a better fiscal path.”
House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Kay Granger (R-Texas) shared a different perspective: “As we face growing threats at our border and around the globe, the president’s proposal spends far too much on unnecessary programs at the expense of our national security. America simply cannot afford this misguided plan. Congress will now get to work, reviewing it line by line to identify programs that do not require additional investments and to insert our own priorities.”
The Week Ahead (all times Eastern)
March 22, 10 a.m.: The Senate Commerce Committee meets to consider the nomination of Phillip Washington to be administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration. A hearing on freight rail policies will occur after the vote on the nomination. Witnesses include Gov. Mike DeWine (R-Ohio); Misti Allison, resident of East Palestine, Ohio; Jennifer Homendy, chairwoman of the National Transportation Safety Board; and Alan Shaw, CEO of Norfolk Southern.
March 22, 10 a.m.: The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee examines the Environmental Protection Agency budget with Administrator Michael Regan.
March 23, 10 a.m.: Secretary Buttigieg is scheduled to appear before the Senate appropriations transportation subcommittee.
March 23, 10 a.m.: The House Aviation Subcommittee meets for a hearing titled, “FAA Reauthorization: Navigating the Comprehensive Passenger Experience.”
March 23, 10:30 a.m.: A House appropriations subcommittee meets with Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm to review the president’s fiscal 2024 budget request.
Looking out for those West Virginia country roads.
Legislation meant to safeguard certain identifiable information of individuals moving internationally recently was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives. This month, Reps. Mike Waltz (R-Fla.) and Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) introduced the bipartisan Moving Americans Privacy Protection Act. The bill would require U.S. Customs and Border Protection to remove personally identifiable information from cargo manifests before public disclosure. Such information includes Social Security and passport numbers. The measure is specific to individuals moving internationally with household goods.
“The personal information of every American should be safe and secure,” Waltz, a member of the House Armed Services committee, said March 10. “However, due to the current public disclosure of cargo manifests, our service members and their families experience a higher risk of identity theft and fraud as they move abroad.”
The Florida Republican added, “It is critical we take the necessary steps to protect them against dangerous and fraudulent activity. That’s why I am proud to introduce legislation in the House to secure international travel and help safeguard the livelihoods of Americans.”
In a recent letter to senior members of the U.S. Senate, American Trucking Associations President Chris Spear expressed concerns about the track record that Labor Secretary nominee Julie Su would bring to the top post at the Labor Department. At issue is her viewpoint on the rights of commercial drivers to work as independent contractors.
A vision zero transportation world awaits.
T&I’s H2O FYI, ICYMI
It’s time to ditch Biden’s new WOTUS rule. American farmers, families, and small business owners need clear rules that protect clean water, not more red tape and regulations. pic.twitter.com/1xJtMAJZ5K — Rep. Sam Graves (@RepSamGraves) March 9, 2023
The Last Word
Even a brief glance at the House GOP proposal is enough to show it’s not a serious package.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on March 15 regarding H.R. 1Image
We publish Mondays when Congress is in session. See previous installments of Capitol Agenda here. Email email@example.com with tips. Follow us @eugenemulero and @transporttopics.
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