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On behalf of our over 6.9 million activists nationwide, I urge you to call your senators and representative and ask them to vote NO on the highway bill conference report, which has been renamed the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. This bill would not only fund the insolvent Highway Trust Fund without any reforms to prevent future bailouts, it would also reauthorize the expired crony-capitalist feeding trough, the U.S. Export-Import Bank.
In spite of massive lobbying campaigns by the corporations who are the main beneficiaries of Ex-Im, Congress finally let it expire in June. Basic free-market economics undermines Ex-Im’s purpose for existence, and there is no reason to reauthorize it save to heed the anguished cries of K Street lobbyists. FreedomWorks released a blanket Key Vote against any reauthorization of Ex-Im, and its inclusion in this package is reason enough for conservatives to oppose it.
But even the highway funding portion of the bill is problematic on several levels. First, the Highway Trust Fund is chronically in danger of insolvency, and a large chunk of its funds don’t even go towards the basic highway infrastructure that it is intended to provide for. Transportation funding, and the revenue to fund it, would best be managed by individual states instead of being subjected to the inevitable waste and mismanagement of a central federal bureaucracy. But this bill doesn’t even significantly alter the operation of the trust fund – it just keeps the money flowing while kicking reforms down the road.
Furthermore, the offsets that supposedly render this bill spending-neutral are problematic. Instead of finding savings elsewhere in the budget, much of the offset comes from tinkering with revenue and fee collection to squeeze more revenue out of the existing tax code. Others of the offsets are basically budget gimmicks.
For these reasons, FreedomWorks opposes the FAST Act, and will include it as a Key Vote when calculating our Congressional Scorecard for 2015. Our scorecard is used to determine eligibility for the FreedomFighter Award, which recognizes Members of Congress who consistently vote to support economic freedom and individual liberty.
President & CEO, FreedomWorks