Secretary Buttigieg to Defend Budget in Congress, Again
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To kick off the spring legislative agenda, funding leaders in the U.S. House scheduled a review of the president’s fiscal 2024 budget request for transportation programs.
A Republican-led appropriations subcommittee, tasked with drafting specifications for funding allocations for all things U.S. Department of Transportation, intends to scrutinize a White House request designed to facilitate the implementation of a 2021 infrastructure law.
Oversight of this $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is central to GOP leaders’ policy objectives this year. The Biden administration’s chief ambassador of the big-picture bipartisan infrastructure measure is Secretary Pete Buttigieg. As leader of DOT, he is scheduled on April 20 to offer an in-depth read about his portion of the White House’s $6.9 trillion budget request for the upcoming fiscal year. (Watch the hearing here)
Relatively recent high-profile transportation crises, as well as mishaps, are likely to dominate the majority’s discussions with the secretary. Funding increases are being proposed to improve safety in air travel, the nation’s highways and the transport of goods via freight rail.
Buttigieg explained President Joe Biden’s budget proposal last month at a hearing with senators. He pointed to calls for increasing funding for rail, transit and myriad safety programs.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg (Senate Appropriations Committee)
“Together we are stewards of a transportation system that is finally seeing renewal in its physical foundations but shows real points of vulnerability that endanger communities and workers — especially in the places where federal oversight and regulation have been undermined,” the secretary told senators in March. “Congress in recent years has shown itself capable of delivering a bipartisan infrastructure law that evaded our predecessors for decades.”
“Now,” he continued, “we need that same bipartisan strength to sustain those ongoing infrastructure investments — and to make progress on safety regulations that protect Americans driving, flying, walking, riding — and counting — on that infrastructure.”
What's in the budget?
The request for the Department of Transportation:
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
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration $1 billion
Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration $387.3 million
Meanwhile, House Republicans governing in the majority are touting their record 100 days into the current congressional term. Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Sam Graves (R-Mo.) observed, “In just 100 days, T&I Republicans have led efforts to pass bills to renew our nation’s energy independence, protect Americans from the overreaching Biden Waters of the United States rule and end the COVID-19 national emergency declaration.”
He added, “We are also fulfilling our promise to provide needed oversight of the Biden administration and successfully convinced the Federal Highway Administration to substantially revise and replace its guidance memo that attempted to undo the flexibility provided to states in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. And we are only just getting started.”
The Week Ahead (all times Eastern)
April 18, 10 a.m.: The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hosts a hearing to allow members of the chamber to announce policy and funding requests for their congressional districts.
April 18, 1:30 p.m.: The House Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee examines the fiscal 2024 White House budget request for the Department of Commerce.
April 18, 2:30 p.m.: Senate Environment and Public Works Committee meets for a hearing to examine clean vehicle technology.
April 19, 10 a.m.: The House Aviation Subcommittee hosts a hearing titled, “FAA Reauthorization: Examining the Current and Future Challenges Facing the Aerospace Workforce.”
April 20, 10 a.m.: House Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee meets with Transportation Secretary Buttigieg to review the White House’s fiscal 2024 budget request. Watch the hearing here.
Major attention is being paid to Ohio.
Reps. Mike Bost (R-Ill.) and Angie Craig (D-Minn.)
Bills designed to expand access to parking for truck drivers around the country recently were introduced on Capitol Hill. Transportation policymakers from the House and Senate are pushing for consideration of legislation meant to tackle the long-standing industry concern.
The bipartisan Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act, sponsored by Reps. Mike Bost (R-Ill.) and Angie Craig (D-Minn.), would approve funding to assist agencies with expanding parking capacity for women and men operating trucks. The bill also would support requisite improvements to existing parking areas for commercial vehicles. Overall, it would authorize $755 million in competitive grants over the next few years. A similar version was introduced in the U.S. Senate.
“I understand how difficult, and oftentimes dangerous, it can be when America’s truckers are forced to push that extra mile in search of a safe place to park,” Bost said in a statement accompanying the bill’s introduction March 29.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer recently called on colleagues to approve raising the borrowing authority for the federal government. Estimates from analysts and the Biden administration determined the country likely would reach its debt limit in the summer.
Schumer (D-N.Y.) on March 30 took aim at Republicans, arguing their budget negotiations tied to the debt ceiling would delay the issue’s consideration.
“Republicans would be reckless to take the full faith and credit of the United States hostage in order to force a conversation on the budget, particularly when there’s an alternative tried-and-true path that has been used before,” he said. “Separate debt ceiling and raising the ability of us to pay our debts and discussions on the budget, on taxes and spending, which we always do. It’s tying the two together that’s reckless.”
A Speaker’s work during the congressional spring recess.
Bridges to Somewhere
Bridges—large or small—are critical to the movement of people & goods. FHWA announced nearly $300M from the #BipartisanInfrastructureLaw for another 9 projects in rural & urban areas of 8 states & DC as part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda https://t.co/gGAb1eU6i8 pic.twitter.com/Q5xO7rNdiE — Federal Highway Admn (@USDOTFHWA) April 13, 2023
The Last Word
The simple fact is the Clean Water Act remains our best tool to safeguard our nation’s waters from persistent pollution.
Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman Tom Carper (D-Del.) on March 29.Image
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