Washington, DC—Today, Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-27) was on the floor of the House to offer the motion to recommit to H.R. 3, the Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (TEA-LU). The motion would amend H.R. 3 to close offshore tax loopholes and raise $34 billion in additional funding for the bill. The Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, of which Congressman Higgins is a member, estimates that such an increase would yield about $2 billion more for New York State alone in transportation dollars, which in turn would generate about 100,000 new jobs. The motion failed by a vote of 235-1904.
“It is a great honor for me to offer the motion to recommit to this critical bill,” said Congressman Higgins. “This measure represents so much to each of our districts; it is the embodiment of roads and transit systems that will be either newly-built or rehabilitated to aid safe and efficient travel. It will spark an abundance of economic development and create millions of jobs specifically to carry out this transportation work, and 100,000 in New York State alone. This motion to recommit acknowledges the fact that we can and should do more for our transportation and infrastructure needs throughout the country. I look forward to continuing my work on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, bringing much needed economic development to Western New York and throughout the country.”
Throughout 2004, Democrats in Congress were fighting for enactment of a highway bill of at least $318 billion. In February 2004, the Senate had passed a $318 billion highway bill by a strong bipartisan vote of 76 to 21. Unfortunately, in his FY 2006 budget, the President has proposed only $284 billion for the six-year period of 2004-2009 for these highway and transit programs. The President’s number is arbitrary, and could easily be increased. Congressman Higgins’ floor action today demonstrated one way in which the House could have matched the Senate’s level of guaranteed funding last year, $318 billion, for even more transportation, economic development, and safety initiatives.
The motion proposed to close a number of offshore loopholes that are enabling American companies to move jobs abroad, avoiding paying U.S. taxes in the process. In closing these loopholes, an additional $34 billion would have been raised – not from an increase in the gasoline tax, and not by digging an even bigger deficit than already exists.