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Nehls Statement from Today's Markup of the Democrat's Rushed, Wasteful, and Partisan Budget Reconciliation Measure

February 10, 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Opening remarks, as prepared, of Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure member Troy Nehls (R-TX) from today's markup of the Committee majority's budget reconciliation measure: 

Thank you, Chairman DeFazio and thank you Ranking Member Graves. I am honored to be seated on this committee and I am looking forward to working with both of you to help build an infrastructure network for the 21st century.

When I was assigned to this Committee, I was excited to have an opportunity to work in one of the last places in Congress where bipartisanship still thrived. Sadly, that is not the case today.

The coronavirus pandemic is still ongoing. The economy is still rebounding, and the American people are still struggling. If there was ever a time for us to come together and deliver for the country, it is now—it is today.

Unfortunately, that’s not what we are here to do today. Today we are here to markup COVID relief legislation that is rushed, flawed, and deeply partisan. So flawed, it wastefully spends $95 billion dollars on bailouts to transportation entities who still have billions in the coffers from the last round of stimulus in December. Despite this, we’re here today marking up text which was given to us Tuesday afternoon, and we haven’t even had a hearing on whether this is the proper time for another cash infusion.

AMTRAK and transit agencies across the country are experiencing record low demands for their services, yet this bill allocates more than 1.5 billion dollars to AMTRAK and 30 billion to the Federal Transit Administration to issue grants to transit authorities.

At a time when we need more doses of the COVID vaccine and families are struggling to put food on the table, I question the merit of a relief bill that spends tens of billions of dollars to keep empty passenger trains in motion but does nothing to protect the thousands of oil and gas workers who will lose their jobs because of Biden’s revocation of the Keystone XL permit

Additionally,  this bill lacks any sort of meaningful highway provisions. The collapse of travel during COVID would have been the opportune time to fix our roads, minimizing inconvenience and putting hundreds of thousands of people back to work. This legislation squanders the opportunity to find some good in the bad.

Chairman DeFazio, I want you to know that I am sincerely looking forward to working with you and my Democrat colleagues on this committee, and I hope today will be an outlier. This legislation is rushed, partisan, and could be better. It needs to be better. We owe it to the American people.

Click here for more information on today’s markup, including video.