Capitol Hill Update, 2 November, 2015
House/Transportation: The House will spend the greater portion of this week considering H.R. 22, which will be the legislative vehicle for long-term funding of federal transportation projects. This bill funds highway projects in the states for six years, at a cost of $325 billion. Most importantly, this bill does not fix the structural problems with the current federal Highway Trust Fund, meaning that the fund will continue to require periodic bailouts. The offsets to the new spending in the bill are also very questionable.
A more rational way of dealing with highway funding would be the Transportation Empowerment Act, introduced by Rep. Ron DeSantis in the House as H.R. 2716 (also in the Senate by Mike Lee, S. 1541). The TEA act would devolve transportation funding back to the states of several years, leaving states to decide how best to fund their highway infrastructure without a federal bureaucracy taking their own slice of the pie.
In any case, the House will vote on many amendments to the transportation deal on Tuesday and Wednesday, so stay tuned for possible key votes regarding the amendments.
House & Senate/Ex-Im: In addition, any final highway bill will likely contain a reauthorization of the U.S. Export-Import Bank, that corporate welfare fund that D.C. lobbyists have been so desperately trying to revive. Ex-Im’s authority was finally allowed to expire in June of this year, and FreedomWorks has issued a Key Vote against any attempts to bring it back.
House & Senate/Energy: The House and Senate are both invoking the Congressional Review Act to introduce resolutions of disapproval against a pair of devastating EPA regulations. One pair of resolutions (H.J. Res. 71 and S.J. Res. 23) targets the EPA’s greenhouse gas regulations on future power plants and renovations, while the other (H.J. Res. 72 and S.J. Res. 24) addresses the new regulation on existing coal-powered plants. The resolutions only require a simple majority vote to pass both chambers and go to the President’s desk, likely forcing the president to veto bipartisan bills in order to continue his reckless anti-energy crusade. FreedomWorks supports these resolutions.
House/Finance: On Wednesday at 10 AM, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen is scheduled to testify before the House Financial Services Committee on the Fed’s regulation of the financial system.