Brooks Votes Against Financially Irresponsible Transportation Bill
Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Mo Brooks voted against the financially flawed Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2015 (FAST Act). This $280 billion “transportation” bill simultaneously increases America’s debt by $33.1 billion over five years, raises taxes on banks and bank customers (but not enough to eliminate the bill’s deficits), risks America’s national security by selling America’s Strategic Petroleum Reserves at likely losses to American taxpayers, and diverts gasoline and diesel taxes from highways to non-highway projects.
As grounds for voting against the FAST Act, Congressman Brooks stated:
“America’s debt will soon blow through the $19 trillion mark. Yearly deficits that had been getting better since 2010 have bottomed out and are now worsening. America’s Comptroller General and the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office have repeatedly warned Congress and the White House that America’s financial path is ‘unsustainable’, which means America faces a debilitating insolvency and bankruptcy if Washington does not change its out-of-control spending ways. This transportation bill worsens America’s five-year deficit by at least $33.1 billion. As such, it is financially reckless and irresponsible.
“While the federal government must pay for needed construction and maintenance of U.S. highways and interstates, it must do so in a financially responsible way. Contrary to what financial prudence demands, this transportation bill not only risks America’s financial solvency, it also undermines America’s national security by foolishly selling crude oil in America’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve, thereby risking America’s economy and national defense should there be a repeat of the 1973 oil embargo.
“Historically, U.S. highways and interstates have been paid for with user fees, i.e., gasoline and diesel fuel taxes. This legislation also makes a radical shift by imposing $60 billion in taxes, fees, and cost burdens on banks and bank customers to help pay for America’s highways.
“This transportation bill reveals the stark reality that, sadly, Washington ignores: the federal government continues to overreach—at taxpayers’ expense—in its scope of function. For example, Amtrak, which should be self-sufficient but instead operates at a huge taxpayer loss and is subsidized by struggling American taxpayers, will not only be subsidized by diverted road taxes but also by bank customer taxes, fees, and cost burdens.
“A transportation bill should not include wholly unrelated matters such as energy infrastructure legislation. This transportation bill does. A transportation bill should not address the unrelated expansion of lending practices. This transportation bill does. A transportation bill should not impact unrelated mortgage licensing laws. This transportation bill does.
“I cannot in good conscience support an unfocused, 1,300-page, 11th-hour bill that, while it contains some good provisions, relies on an inadequate, gimmicky hodgepodge of funding sources while diverting so much money from transportation infrastructure improvements that it fails to adequately address America’s critical U.S. highway and interstate needs.”