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Key Vote Alert: OPPOSE Bloated Highway Bill Agreement, H.R. 4348

June 28, 2012 J

Dear Representatives and Senators:

On behalf of more than two million Americans for Prosperity activists in all 50 states, I strongly urge you to oppose H.R. 4348, the agreement on extending surface transportation programs.  The bill reauthorizes for 27 months the massively inflated funding levels that we saw in the last highway bill (SAFETEA-LU) – a continued spending binge this country can ill afford.

I urge you to vote NO on H.R. 4348, the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21).  Americans for Prosperity will include this vote in our congressional ratings. 

When the House released their version of the highway bill this year, Transportation Committee Chairman John Mica claimed it held spending to current levels by spending $260 billion over 5 years, an average of $4.33 billion per month. The Chairman now claims H.R. 4348 holds spending to current levels by spending $120 billion over 27 months, about $4.44 billion per month on average.  Federal budget math is notoriously fuzzy, but in this case one can’t help but conclude H.R. 4348 loses ground instead of gaining it on fiscal responsibility.  An extra $110 million per month may be a “rounding error” to inside-the-beltway types, but that’s real money to the American people.

In any event, here lawmakers had a chance to score real cuts and rein in Washington’s out-of-control spending, but instead they’re watching that opportunity slip by.  Lawmakers could have repealed the Davis-Bacon labor rules that unnecessarily inflate the cost of federal construction projects, but they chose not to.  Lawmakers could have devolved more power to the states, giving them flexibility to fund their own transportation projects, but they chose not to.  Lawmakers could have ensured we spend only as much as we take in to the Highway Trust Fund, but they chose not to.  Regardless of whether it “holds spending to current levels,” H.R. 4348 is far from the reform we need.

The bill is not improved by packaging it together with three other pieces of legislation that should be considered separately, on their own merits.  In addition to bad highway policy, H.R. 4348 also extends low rates on government-subsidized loans that serve only to increase the cost of college in the long-run, spends money that we don’t have to buy more land for the federal government that we don’t need, and reauthorizes a broken federal flood insurance program without fixing its problems.

I urge you to vote NO on H.R. 4348, the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21).  Americans for Prosperity will include this vote in our congressional ratings.

Sincerely,

James Valvo
Director of Policy
Americans for Prosperity

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