WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Ranking Member of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, questioned U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Pete Buttigieg in a hearing about the department’s implementation of the bipartisan infrastructure law, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA).
Following a December 16, 2021 memorandum issued by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) that outlined several policies contradicting those negotiated and agreed to in the IIJA, Senator Capito and Republican Leader Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) sent a letter to governors across the country reaffirming their commitment to ensuring the proper implementation of the law.
In February, Senator Capito—along with Senators Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) and Deb Fischer (R-Neb.)—led more than half of the Republican conference in a letter requesting that Secretary Buttigieg direct FHWA to rescind or substantially revise the memorandum to ensure the agency intends proper implementation of the IIJA as enacted.
USING REJECTED, PARTISAN LANGUAGE: “As you can see this language from the memo is lifted from the bill that was sent over here to the Senate as the shell bill that we rejected here in the United States Senate. The Surface Transportation Reauthorization Act, which passed this committee, had no such language in there. I’ve said many times, this is a bipartisan bill, the project of careful negotiations and reflective of the will of the committee unanimously…I’m really troubled that a memo coming from your department has language in it that was rejected from the House bill—basically verbatim.”
COPY/PASTE JOB: “So from your explanation, would I assume that the fact that they’re verbatim from the DeFazio bill into the memo that came from your department—word for word—is just because? So are you in the habit of lifting language from unpassed bills and putting them into regulations that you’re putting forward—that obviously had been negotiated out of bills?”
BUILD, BUT…: “Now we have an opportunity with the bipartisan infrastructure package to really build more in areas that need that. But in your memo, you say, ‘More capacity, BUT…’ There’s a big ‘BUT’ in there. You have to consider all these other things. You should consider all these other things.”
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