House Committee Considers Fiscal 2024 Bill
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The transportation funding committee in the U.S. House of Representatives will consider a fiscal 2024 transportation bill July 18.
The bill, which would dedicate $90.2 billion for the departments of Transportation and Housing and Urban Development, was advanced by a subcommittee last week. The measure would provide $891.3 million for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, an agency tasked with regulating commercial trucks and buses.
Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Tom Cole (R-Okla.) applauded the Republican-led legislative effort.
“The bill before the subcommittee responsibly funds our most critical transportation and housing needs, which will have a positive impact on every congressional district,” he said.
Reps. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.), left, and Tom Cole (R-Okla.)
Democrats, however, expressed opposition to the bill. Compared with fiscal 2023, the House bill would increase funding levels by nearly $3 billion. It is, however, nearly 9% less than the White House’s budget request for the upcoming fiscal year.
“I’m disappointed that the Republican 2024 Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development bill fails to meet the needs of Americans,” subcommittee ranking member Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.) said. “At a time when too many people in America don’t have a place to call home or lack access to affordable transportation options, the [fiscal 2024 Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development] bill slashes funding for new affordable housing for most areas of the country and commuter and passenger rail. Instead, we should be investing in programs to help communities improve their commutes, travel safely, redevelop distressed housing and attract economic development.
“Unfortunately, the bill falls too short of these critical investments. The Republican THUD bill sets America back in a time we need to move forward.”
Overall, the House bill would provide $62 billion for the Federal Highway Administration, $19.5 billion for the Federal Aviation Administration, $14.6 billion for the Federal Transit Administration, $1.4 billion for the Federal Railroad Administration and $1.2 billion for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Sens. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), left, and Susan Collins (R-Maine)
On the other side of the Capitol, Senate funding leaders scheduled consideration of their version of the transportation appropriations bill this week. Sens. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) recently indicated they are “determined to continue working together in a bipartisan manner to craft serious funding bills that can be signed into law. Keeping the Senate appropriations process moving full steam ahead and in a bipartisan way is critical.”
At a hearing in the House this year, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg called on lawmakers to support the White House’s fiscal 2024 budget request. The president proposed nearly $1 billion for FMCSA.
“Our transportation system is at a turning point,” Buttigieg insisted. “We are finally in the process of renewing its physical foundations, but we are also grappling with serious vulnerabilities — especially in areas where federal oversight and regulation have been undermined — which pose very real dangers to workers, families and communities.”
To avert a partial government shutdown, fiscal-year funding authority for federal agencies requires renewal by Oct. 1.
The Week Ahead (All times Eastern)
July 20, 9:30 a.m.: The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee meets for a hearing titled, “The Water Resources Development Act of 2024: Non-Federal Stakeholder Views.”
July 20, 10:30 a.m.: The Senate Appropriations Committee considers a fiscal 2024 transportation funding bill.
Pack your bags: Uncle Sam is focusing on transportation safety with the summer travel season well underway, Secretary Buttigieg says.
Freight stakeholders are calling on congressional policymakers to further facilitate access to military bases and installations. The groups, representing trucking as well as moving and storage companies, point to a provision tucked in the annual defense policy bill. The massive reauthorizing legislation was approved July 14 in the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 219-210. The provision was introduced by Reps. Mark Alford (R-Mo.) and John Garamendi (D-Calif.).
Reps. John Garamendi (D-Calif.), left, and Mark Alford (R-Mo.)
Stakeholders argue the provision would “represent meaningful and reasonable solutions that will benefit millions of people, especially those who require routine access to military installations.”
“Such access standards must be consistent across military installations, include procedures to facilitate recurring unescorted access for ‘covered individuals,’ and require [Department of Defense] to accept credentials that already exist for non-DOD personnel, such as the Department of Homeland Security’s Transportation Worker Identification Credential,” American Trucking Associations, ATA’s Moving & Storage Conference, the HomeSafe Alliance and the Government Freight Conference recently wrote to members of the Armed Services committees.
“To be clear, truck drivers, motor carriers and household goods movers are [Department of Defense] partners, they are generally vetted by the federal government,” the groups continued, “and many have security clearances and/or other federally recognized security credentials.”
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer continues to support the nomination of Julie Su for secretary of labor amid pushback from Senate Republicans. A floor vote on Su’s nomination has not been scheduled since her committee approval in April. She currently serves as acting secretary at the Labor Department.
“I think she’ll be a very good labor secretary, and we’re working hard to get her approved,” Schumer (D-N.Y.) told reporters on Capitol Hill on July 11.
Meanwhile, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) announced his opposition to the nomination.
Good. Su has consistently dodged important and straightforward questions on numerous issues, and her evasiveness raises major red flags as ongoing labor disputes here at home threaten supply chain continuity and the freight services that Americans depend on every single day. https://t.co/tX5OabeXcO — American Trucking (@TRUCKINGdotORG) July 13, 2023
“I believe the person leading the U.S. Department of Labor should have the experience to collaboratively lead both labor and industry to forge compromises acceptable to both parties,” Manchin said July 13. “While her credentials and qualifications are impressive, I have genuine concerns that Julie Su’s more progressive background prevents her from doing this, and for that reason I cannot support her nomination to serve as secretary of labor.”
State officials aim to turn sweet home Chicago even sweeter.
NHTSA: Stay safe out there.
The Last Word
When you’re buying a new refrigerator, you don’t expect your fridge to record you.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) on July 11Image
This column returns Sept. 18. We publish Mondays when Congress is in session. See previous installments of Capitol Agenda here. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with tips. Follow us @eugenemulero and @transporttopics.