NTU urges all Representative to vote “NO” on H.R. 3055, the Department of Commerce, Interior, Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2020. This legislation would increase spending far above levels permitted under the Budget Control Act of 2011, thereby tossing aside fiscal discipline and inching the U.S. closer to fiscal peril.
Due to “persistently large deficits,” the Congressional Budget Office calculates federal debt will reach 93 percent of GDP in 2029, the highest level since the end of World War II. If the United States is to avoid fiscal and economic crisis, Congress must enact serious reforms to balance the budget. Instead of reversing this worrying trend, H.R. 3055 exacerbates Washington’s loose spending habits by increasing spending by more than 10 percent, bringing the total cost of this spending package to $323 billion for FY20.
At nearly $30 billion over current spending levels, H.R. 3055 misses a prime opportunity to enact bipartisan spending reforms. Under this package, programs that have a long history of being ineffective and unnecessary are rewarded with more funding authority, like Community Development Block Grants (a 10 percent increase), the Economic Development Administration (a 75 percent increase), and broadband development funding ($700 million). Also to the dismay of taxpayers, nearly $1 billion of their tax dollars will be appropriated for contract workers impacted by the most recent government shutdown, despite the fact that these workers were already compensated for every dollar they were entitled to. It remains unclear who will be eligible for these funds and how many workers would receive it.
Representatives should be focused on efforts to save taxpayers money, such as terminating or reforming Airport Improvement Grants and privatizing Amtrak. Additionally, lawmakers should oppose provisions that expand government, such as the higher loan authority for the Single Family Housing Guaranteed Loan Program, which further entrenches government’s role in the U.S. housing system. With taxpayers already backing $7 trillion in residential mortgages, this higher loan authority leaves taxpayers on the hook for even more potential losses in the future.
NTU strongly urges Representatives to oppose H.R. 3055 due its higher, un-offset spending, and work to improve the underlying bill by adopting fiscally responsible amendments.
Roll call votes on H.R. 3055 will be significantly weighted in NTU’s annual rating of Congress and a “NO” vote will be considered the pro-taxpayer position.
If you have any questions, please contact NTU Policy and Government Affairs Associate Thomas Aiello at Thomas.Aiello@ntu.org