NTU urges all Senators to vote “No” on S. 1243, the Fiscal Year 2014 Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development (THUD) Appropriations bill. This legislation shows a severe lack of spending restraint in the face of many still-urgent fiscal challenges.
Weighing in at a staggering $54 billion, S. 1243 is $2.4 billion more than the President’s request, $10 billion beyond the House version of the bill, and $2.3 billion over FY13 pre-sequester spending levels. Taxpayers are the ultimate victims when the Senate persists in ignoring the realities of sequestration and the limits imposed by the Budget Control Act. By funding 302(b) allocation levels for discretionary spending at $1.058 trillion, the Senate makes it that much harder for appropriation bills to ever move through normal order. Doing so could also mean claw-backs that indiscriminately sequester funds appropriated above the law.
S. 1243 misses nary an opportunity to increase spending, despite our growing debt. Community Development Block Grants are pegged at $3.15 billion, $350 million over the Administration’s request. Other programs, like Choice Neighborhoods, almost double spending over FY13 levels – a budgetary “choice” that would be difficult to justify in almost any fiscal environment.S.1243 also keeps the taxpayer funds flowing to wasteful, blatantly ineffective programs such as $100 million in grants for high-speed rail.
Senators should be doubling down on efforts to save taxpayers money. Terminating or further reforming Essential Air Service and privatizing Amtrak are just two common-sense reforms (of many) that could make a difference to the nation’s balance sheet at a critical turning point in our fiscal future.
Roll call votes on S. 1243 will be included in our annual Rating of Congress and a “No” vote will be considered the pro-taxpayer position.If you have any questions, please contact NTU Federal Affairs Manager Nan Swift at (703) 683-5700