Reps. Scalise, Graves, Higgins, Johnson, Letlow, and Sen. Kennedy: Tax-and-Spending Spree is Bad for Louisiana
WASHINGTON, D.C.— Today, House Republican Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) co-authored an op-ed in The Advocate with Senator John Kennedy (R-La.) and Representatives Garret Graves (R-La.), Clay Higgins (R-La.), Mike Johnson (R-La.), and Julia Letlow (R-La.) explaining their opposition to the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill currently under consideration in the U.S. House of Representatives. The lawmakers emphasized that the infrastructure bill has been inextricably linked with Democrats' $4.3 trillion tax-and-spending spree. Combined, the total cost of both bills is $5.5 trillion, and Democrats' reckless agenda contains massive new spending, Green New Deal policies, and large tax increases that would decimate families, workers, and small businesses.
The members expressed their full support for responsibly investing in Louisiana's infrastructure needs, but noted that this $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill provides less than 10 percent of new funding for roads and bridges and shortchanges states like Louisiana in favor of disproportionately bankrolling infrastructure in cities like San Francisco, New York, Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles, and other political supporters of the Biden Administration and Speaker Pelosi.
Read the full op-ed below or click here.
When it comes to infrastructure, Louisiana is one of the most important states in the nation.
We have five of the top fifteen ports in America and six interstate highways. The New Orleans airport was just ranked the top airport on the continent. The Mississippi and Atchafalaya river systems drain 31 states and two Canadian provinces. Our pipeline and energy infrastructure delivers power to states and countries around the world.
Our regional, national, and global significance cannot be overstated.
In recent years, we have secured an estimated $10 billion in infrastructure improvements in Louisiana. From the elevation of LA-1 and the multiple expansions of Interstates 10 and 12, to the West Shore Protection and Comite Diversion Projects, to the Monroe Street Corridor project and numerous port improvements, securing funding for Louisiana’s critical infrastructure has always been a priority of our congressional delegation.
We fully support responsible investment in Louisiana’s infrastructure needs. But recent actions by the Biden administration jeopardize this opportunity for our state, and the massive legislative package before Congress is, simply put, bad for Louisiana. The infrastructure proposal alone targets Louisiana jobs with $1.3 billion in new superfund excise taxes to pay for projects that largely serve East and West Coast elites.
So far this year, there has been a $1.9 trillion spending bill already signed into law (that we collectively opposed), and Congress is currently debating a massive spending package that would add trillions of dollars to our national debt that will be paid for by our children and grandchildren.
This $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill has been linked with a $4.3 trillion tax and spend bill that has a socialist wish list of massive new spending, "Green New Deal" policies and some of the largest tax rate increases in the world that will hit families and small businesses the hardest.
The infrastructure bill under consideration is bad for Louisiana. For starters, the bill provides less than 10% of the new funding for roads and bridges and shortchanges states like Louisiana, while making cash infusions into urban transit programs at $170 billion. Sixty percent of these transit formula funds go to just ten metropolitan areas — and none are in Louisiana.
Also, one of the most important federal missions in Louisiana is the implementation of water resource projects by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. But Biden made clear through his budget earlier this year that the Corps will not fund any project that benefits or lowers the cost of gasoline, oil or natural gas, which could potentially harm many of the ongoing flood protection projects in our state.
This bill is a boon for cities like San Francisco, New York, Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. But it is bad for Louisiana because we’re footing a lot of the bill.
For broadband, we see a similar outcome. Unfortunately, the bill makes almost no concrete guarantees that it will help underserved communities, which means the first priority would likely go to places like the suburbs of Boston, not communities like Bastrop, Baker and Buras. The Biden administration has already proven its bias against rural communities, and his bill would spend over $14 billion to subsidize internet costs for households that already have broadband, but there’s no guarantee that more Louisianians would get access from that money.
Similarly, in 2009, President Obama and Vice President Biden pushed a partisan infrastructure/stimulus bill, the $831 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). Louisiana’s share of that was about 0.36% of the funds provided in that bill.
While we agree that our nation is overdue for meaningful infrastructure investments, the administration has already been clear that they intend to politically manipulate who benefits, just as we saw in the Obama-Biden administration’s ARRA. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg announced he would award transportation project funds based upon environmental justice, climate change and expanding labor unions. When these criteria were first applied to a major grant program, there was not a single road project in Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, Alabama or Florida that received funding.
Furthermore, the Biden administration has continually repeated their intention to discriminate against projects that have anything to do with the development of domestic oil and natural gas in favor of foreign energy sources.
Again, we have secured an estimated $10 billion in recent years to advance our infrastructure needs. Spending trillions of dollars on the expansion of entitlement programs and to disproportionately bankroll infrastructure in San Francisco, New York, Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles and other political supporters of the Biden administration and Speaker Nancy Pelosi is not in Louisiana’s best interest.