House member decries the bill’s excessive tax cuts and lack of enough transit funding
The United States House passed the revised version of the stimulus bill on a vote of 246 to 183, again with literally no Republican support. It will now be considered by the Senate, and is likely to be approved later tonight. I posted a review of the bill’s transit and rail measures yesterday on the transport politic.
Which notable Democrat didn’t vote for the bill, however? New York Oregon Representative Peter DeFazio (D), who, according to TPM DC, voted against the bill because it didn’t provide enough funding for transit, and because it relied too much on tax cuts. Though Mr. DeFazio voted for the first House version of the stimulus bill, which included more money for transit, he had repeatedly expressed his disappointments about the original bill’s limitations, before the Nadler Amendment was passed. In mid-January, the transport politic reported that he said the following:
“I’m not happy with the tax cuts and many other, uh, parts of this proposal, and I don’t think I’m alone in questioning whether I will support it with that inadequate amount of money, and that people will say, how will solve transportation problems, but with that little amount of money, no, it will only touch the very tip of the iceberg of those problems, of that deficit.”
So perhaps it’s not a huge surprise that he decided to vote against the final, less transit-heavy bill. His vote also seemed to be a statement against the power of Senate moderates in shaping legislation:
“We all know that’s a convenient artifice from the Senate … do away with the filibuster or have a real filibuster. It’s convenient for [the Senate]. It gives them clout to push around the House and the president.”
Considering that his vote didn’t affect the final outcome of the bill, which will provide $8.4 billion in additional funding to transit agencies (as well as $9.3 billion for rail), I can’t help but feel somewhat sympathetic towards Mr. DeFazio’s cause. His aggressive activism on behalf of transit is something I think we should all be looking forward to in the future.
In other news, you’ll be happy to know that thetransportpolitic is now live at its new address: thetransportpolitic.com. You shouldn’t notice any changes and all old links should work fine. (All wordpress addresses forward automatically to their respective thetransportpolitic.com addresses.)