Congressman Garamendi Fights for American Jobs in Transportation Bill
WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman John Garamendi (D-Fairfield, CA) offered amendments to the FY 2015 Transportation Housing and Urban Development (T-HUD) Appropriations Act that would spur the growth of U.S. jobs by strengthening Buy America laws. The requirement that federal taxpayer dollars are spent on U.S. manufacturing is currently too weak causing the outsourcing of thousands of jobs. Garamendi’s amendments would close loopholes in the law, so that the money we invest in public works stays here at home.
While Garamendi fought to create American jobs and boost economic growth, the Appropriations bill itself would take this nation in the opposite direction. The legislation fails to address the need to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure and to recover from our nation’s housing crisis. For that reason, Garamendi voted against it. The House of Representatives passed the bill by a vote of 229 to 192.
“This morning, I joined my colleagues at the White House as President Obama signed the overwhelmingly bipartisan Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA) into law. WRRDA will put Americans to work rebuilding our water infrastructure, encourage business growth, and safeguard communities in flood prone areas of my district, such as Yuba City, Marysville, the Delta, and Sacramento County,” said Garamendi, a Member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. “This stands in stark contrast to the extremely partisan House Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations bill, which, if enacted into law, would drive our economy back into a deep ditch. This bill shortchanges our future by gutting proven investments in transportation infrastructure. It also makes the challenge of housing and homeownership tougher for middle and working class Americans.”
During debate over the bill, Congressman Garamendi fought for American jobs by offering two “Make It In America” amendments. The first would prohibit funds from being used for ships in the National Defense Ready Reserve from being crewed, owned, or maintained by foreign entities (text is linked here and video is linked here). The second would increase domestic content requirements for infrastructure projects from 60% in 2016 to 100% by 2019 (text linked here and video linked here).
“This week, I read even more about the Bay Bridge fiasco in the Sacramento Bee. The decision to outsource work on the project to China cost us thousands of U.S. jobs and resulted in cost overruns from shoddy construction. Let’s learn from this mistake by deciding to Make It In America. By insisting that train equipment, rolling stock, and more are stamped made in America, we will create jobs, lift wages, and keep taxpayer dollars circulating at home instead of shipping them abroad,” said Garamendi. “Manufacturing generally, and the American Maritime industry specifically, is also crucial to the strength of our economy and our national security. We need some nation building here at home.”
The House Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations bill would:
- Eliminate one-sixth of the funding for TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) Grants, a competitive, popular, and highly praised program for infrastructure improvements from FY 2014 levels. TIGER is appropriated just $100 million, which is more than $9 billion below the demand for TIGER grants and restricted to a narrow band of eligible projects.
- Cut the Federal Transit Administration’s New Start capital investment grants by $252 million from FY 2014 levels.
- Slash funding for Amtrak by $200 million below FY 2014, hurting the Capitol Corridor and other routes across America by reducing track, signal, and bridge work, denigrating service, and increasing delays.
- Takes away $29 million from the Title XI Loan Guarantee Program for shipbuilding, which would equate to a loss of $278 million in loan guarantees.
- Cut the HOME Investment Partnership by 30 percent to $700 million, the lowest level in the program’s history, and $300 million below FY 2014 levels. These grants empower states and localities to expand affordable housing, including new construction and rehabilitation of housing and down payment assistance for qualified homebuyers. Dramatically underfunding this program guarantees that the demand for affordable housing will continue to greatly exceed supply.