Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Republicans detailed their opposition to the Majority’s budget reconciliation recommendations for spending nearly $100 billion in COVID-related measures. The recommendations were developed in an entirely partisan fashion and passed out of Committee last week without including any Republican amendments – even amendments that received bipartisan backing during Committee debate.
The Committee Republicans’ minority views were submitted to the Budget Committee, which compiles all committees’ budget reconciliation recommendations in preparation for expected consideration on the House floor soon.
According to the Republicans’ submission, “During this time of great uncertainty for Americans, we should be providing sound budget policy targeted precisely where funds are necessary. Other COVID relief packages have come together with bipartisan development and support, and we are truly disappointed that we cannot continue working together in the same manner due to the partisan path directed by the Speaker of the House…. [I]t completely prevented meaningful amendment debate as the outcome was predetermined in this utterly one-sided process…. When only one side legislates, sensible provisions frequently get left out of the process.”
T&I Republicans went on to highlight the inequity in infrastructure assistance provided to urban areas versus rural regions of the country, noting that multiple attempts to provide more parity were rejected. The minority views also outline provisions to provide greater accountability and ensure less waste of the measures’ $95.62 billion, and to redirect more funding to bolster vaccine distribution efforts – none of which were approved in markup.
Furthermore, the Republican views discuss amendments that the Majority voiced support for in the markup – despite ultimately voting against them at the direction of their Leadership – such as changes to curtail Chinese influence and control over U.S. businesses, including the steel industry. There were other Republican proposals that received supportive comments from the Majority during the markup, at least in concept. For example, Republican amendments offered would have provided funding for small and inland ports, as well as the Maritime Transportation System Emergency Relief Program. As with all other Republican amendments, the Majority voted against these improvements.