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On behalf of FreedomWorks’ activist community, I urge you to contact your representative and ask him or her to vote NO on the Moving Forward Act, H.R. 2, introduced by Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) on behalf of Speaker Pelosi. The Moving Forward Act -- dubbed by Republicans as Pelosi’s “My Way or the Highway” Act -- is an infrastructure bill in name only.
At over 2,309 pages, with 90,803 sections, H.R. 2 provides funding for America’s aging infrastructure. But this near- incomprehensible mass of text primarily contains provisions that would have detrimental impacts on both our economy and our liberties and prioritize partisan politics over actual infrastructure improvements. H.R. 2 is a fully partisan bill and seeks to implement a partisan, progressive agenda thinly veiled as a condition of essential infrastructure investment. In short, though investment in our infrastructure is badly needed, the strings that Speaker Pelosi has attached to such funding in H.R. 2 make this legislation untenable.
To begin with, H.R. 2 carries a $1.5 trillion price tag, up a full trillion dollars from the last version of the bill, the INVEST in America Act. Topline funding for surface and rail transportation is set at 62 percent above the current FAST Act levels for the next five years. The proposal also includes an excessive $22 billion “special funding pot” for FY 2021 that would be available only for costs associated with COVID-19 recovery. Funding levels for general infrastructure provide $500 billion for roads, bridges, and other transit, $130 billion for schools, $100 billion for housing, $100 billion for rural broadband, $70 billion for renewable energy, $65.6 billion for fresh-water resources, and $22.9 billion for aviation.
In exchange for this abundance of appropriation, Speaker Pelosi has included language in nearly every section that creates new “green” mandates in an effort to help Democrats achieve the goals of the Green New Deal. For example -- in addition to the existing emissions standards of the Environmental Protection Agency -- H.R. 2 would require the Department of Transportation to spend $200 billion over the next five years to establish emissions performance measures and restrictions on public roads. Unfortunately, this is only one example amongst thousands of the new top-down, “green” mandates included in H.R. 2.
One of the most egregious of these is the provision to “modernize postal infrastructure and operations,” which doesn’t sound so terrible given that the United States Postal Service (USPS) is in a terrible state, both fiscally and operationally, one which often encourages the other. However, what is terrible is how this bill proposes to address the problem, throwing a whopping $25 billion at the USPS, not even to address structural issues but to switch to “a zero emissions postal vehicle fleet, processing equipment, and other goods.” Partisanship above policy at its worst.
As if including these provisions in an infrastructure bill weren’t partisan enough, Speaker Pelosi also saw to it that H.R. 2 is as anti-competitive as possible. As history has shown, state- run programs and services are far less efficient than their private counterparts. H.R. 2 doubles-down on the flawed view that big government can solve the world’s problems when it should be opening up our country to domestic private investment. Amtrak is a fantastic example. Even though it has never turned a profit in nearly 50 years of operation, House Democrats have decided that the answer to Amtrak’s problem is more money, handing them $29.3 billion over the next five years. Throwing taxpayer money at a failed public corporation is not the proper way to bring America’s infrastructure into the 21st century.
Instead of taking this opportunity to seek bipartisan consensus to smartly invest in rebuilding our roads and ports, Speaker Pelosi is holding infrastructure funding hostage in exchange for a progressive agenda. FreedomWorks will count the vote for H.R. 2 on our 2020 Congressional Scorecard and reserves the right to score any amendments, motions, or other related votes. The scorecard is used to determine eligibility for the FreedomFighter Award, which recognizes Members of the House and Senate who consistently vote to support economic freedom and individual liberty.
Sincerely, Adam Brandon, President, FreedomWorks