House Democrats Advance Controversial ‘My Way or The Highway’ Bill Closer to Passage
Washington D.C. – Democrats on the U.S. House of Representatives’ Transportation & Infrastructure (T&I) Committee have advanced controversial surface transportation reauthorization legislation one step closer to passage.
After a 19-hour marathon markup on Wednesday and into early morning Thursday, the T&I Committee passed the $547 billion INVEST in America Act in a vote along party lines of 38-26.
“Infrastructure is calling, and we are answering with bold legislation that invests in American workers and communities and lays the groundwork for the President’s visionary Americans Jobs Plan,” said Chair Peter DeFazio (D-OR).
As part of the markup, Democrats rejected dozens of amendments offered by Republicans.
One of those rejected amendments was offered by Rep. Mike Bost (R-IL) and would have eliminated a provision to increase the minimum amount of insurance required for commercial motor vehicles from $750,000 to $2 million, as well as to direct the minimum to be adjusted for inflation by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) every five years.
Citing FMCSA-commissioned research showing less than 1% (.6% to be exact) of truck-involved crashes exceed the $750,000 liability minimum, Rep. Bost called the proposed increase “ridiculous.”
Other Republican-backed amendments Democrats voted down included:
• An amendment to prevent jurisdictions that have chosen to Defund the Police from using National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) program grants to fund traffic enforcement activities performed by law enforcement officers those communities have defunded;
• An amendment to streamline the environmental review and permitting process for major infrastructure projects and limit that process to two years; and
• An amendment that would have reinstated a prohibition on spending transit funding on art to be placed at transit stations and redirecting any excess transit funding to improving highways.
Ranking Member Sam Graves (R-MO) called the proceedings “pretty insane.”
“Instead of working with Committee Republicans this year to find a compromise that addresses priorities for Members on both sides of the aisle, the Majority elected to move further away from any middle ground and toward the left wing of their party,” Graves asserted. “We have an opportunity here to show the American people that we can work together… but unfortunately the Majority isn’t interested in bipartisanship.”
After getting the back of Democrats’ political hand throughout the process, Republicans on the T&I Committee dubbed the INVEST in America Act the “My Way or The Highway Bill.”
The Committee just passed the Majority’s “My Way or the Highway” Bill 2.0, which will tie up $1 out of every $2 spent on meeting Green New Deal mandates rather than charting a bipartisan path forward. This isn’t the road to success for America’s infrastructure. pic.twitter.com/zZlqQM0ZdF
— T&I Committee Republicans (@TransportGOP) June 10, 2021
A date has not yet been set for a full House vote.
TransportationNation.com will continue to track it for you.