House GOP to Evaluate Buttigieg’s Record Sept. 20
[Stay on top of transportation news: Get TTNews in your inbox.]
On Sept. 17, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg took to X, formerly Twitter, to declare: “There are 37,000 infrastructure projects underway in every state and territory across the US. Under President Biden, we’re showing what it means to invest in America.” That was soon followed by this post, “This administration has announced $299 billion in public infrastructure and clean energy investments here in the United States.”
In his role as the top communicator for the president’s transportation record, Buttigieg consistently shares updates about all things infrastructure vis-à-vis “Bidenomics.” The implementation of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, 2021’s $1.2 trillion bipartisan law, is central to the secretary’s updates. His social media posts over the weekend about 37,000 projects and public transportation funding are the latest in a long list of updates from the secretary’s office.
While congressional Democrats, governing in the majority in the Senate, are largely supportive of the secretary’s record, the core of the House Republican caucus does not share in the sentiment. Take Rep. Mike Collins (R-Ga.), for example. During a committee hearing Sept. 13, the Georgia Republican sought to summarize the viewpoint from his side of the aisle.
Addressing freight stakeholders, Collins argued: “We have a Department of Transportation on the federal level that is being run by someone that is pushing a woke, socialistic left-wing agenda.”
This Administration has announced $299 billion in public infrastructure and clean energy investments here in the United States. pic.twitter.com/WqYklovlWB — Secretary Pete Buttigieg (@SecretaryPete) September 17, 2023
This week, Collins and his colleagues on the Transportation and Infrastructure panel will have a chance to question the secretary directly. A Sept. 20 hearing with Buttigieg is meant to provide lawmakers with a forum for reviewing the IIJA’s implementation, gain a greater understanding about myriad transportation safety programs and press Buttigieg about lingering supply chain concerns.
Or, as the panel’s leadership explained, policymakers “will have the opportunity to question the secretary on a range of issues, including the lack of a confirmed administrator at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), implementation of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), supply chain and energy issues, and electric vehicle infrastructure policies.”
Buttigieg’s visit to the committee will come as unions associated with domestic automakers are striking, transportation industries continue to report safety warnings and Congress is staring at the potential of a partial federal shutdown. Senate Democrats and House Republicans appear far apart on spending decisions for federal programs. Although Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) intend to advance a short-term funding fix as early as this week, the pushback from fiscal conservatives remains significant.
An unfortunate reality check.
Bidenomics has become the death knell of American prosperity.
This is why @HouseGOP is committed to tackling the United States’ exploding debt and will fight for a budget that serves hardworking families. https://t.co/M7oKMfN717 — Rep. Mike Collins (@RepMikeCollins) September 15, 2023
Ahead of the Sept. 30 funding deadline, the Biden White House is asking the divided Congress to avert a shutdown.
“The shutdown should not happen,” press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters Sept. 13. “That is Congress’ job: to avoid a shutdown.”
The Week Ahead (all times Eastern)
Sept. 19, 10 a.m.: The House Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management Subcommittee receives an update from Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Deanne Criswell.
Sept. 20, 10 a.m.: Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg testifies before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Watch the hearing here.
In a land far, far away, a majestic road greets travelers.
With a Sept. 30 federal funding deadline fast approaching, House and Senate policymakers continue to debate differing versions of a fiscal 2024 transportation bill. For the fiscal measure to reach the president’s desk in time to avert a shutdown, the chambers must sign off on the same legislative version.
As it stands, the Senate bill would dedicate $98.9 billion for the departments of Transportation and Housing and Urban Development. For transportation agencies, it would dedicate $20.2 billion for the Federal Aviation Administration, $16.8 billion for the Federal Transit Administration and $3.4 billion for the Federal Railroad Administration.
Meanwhile, the House version would dedicate $90.2 billion for the departments of Transportation and Housing and Urban Development. That includes $19.5 billion for FAA, $14.6 billion for FTA and $1.4 billion for FRA. Both bills would provide the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration with nearly $1 billion under the legislation.
On Sept. 13, Senate Appropriations Chair Patty Murray (D-Wash.) sought to capture the mood: “We are moving right ahead with several of these bills now. I urge our colleagues to work with us to get this done.”
American Trucking Associations hosted an event in Washington on Sept. 13 to celebrate National Truck Driver Appreciation Week. The spotlight on truckers, held Sept. 10-16, promoted the theme: “Miles of Gratitude.”
“Truck drivers are the ones who move our country forward, and they deserve to be celebrated by their companies, customers, neighbors, families and friends,” said ATA President Chris Spear. “America’s 3.5 million truckers drive hundreds of billions of miles each year. Every one of those miles represents a stocked store shelf, a package placed on a household doorstep, raw materials delivered to a manufacturer, and equipment conveyed to a construction site.
"Truck drivers have a vital role, and they fulfill that responsibility with professionalism and a commitment to safety. We invite all Americans to join us in thanking these hardworking men and women who supply our communities.”
Speaking with Transport Topics on Sept. 13, XPO’s Ina Daly, an ATA America’s Road Team captain, observed: “This is one week in the year that we get to feel special. People need to understand what we do is important to all of the entire country. And this highlights that and brings a little respect our way, and it makes us feel good about what we do for a living.”
The Road to the White House 2024
FRA’s freight focus.
Today, FRA issued a Safety Bulletin reminding railroads of the importance of safe switching operations as our agency continues investigating a Sept. 1 incident resulting in severe crew member injuries. https://t.co/zcB7YfKALR — The FRA (@USDOTFRA) September 11, 2023
The Last Word
While I’m not running for re-election, I’m not retiring from the fight.
Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) on Sept. 13Image
Want more news? Listen to today's daily briefing below or go here for more info: