Pelosi: GOP budget ‘ignores our crumbling infrastructure’

Greg Nash

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Thursday that the 2016 Republican budget “ignores our crumbling infrastructure.” 

GOP leaders in the House and Senate unveiled a joint budget on Wednesday that keeps in place a $1.017 trillion discretionary budget cap that was set by the sequestration law that was passed in 2011. 

GOP leaders have said the measure would balance the federal books within 10 years, but Pelosi said Thursday that it does not spend enough on boosting the nation’s infrastructure. 

{mosads}”Weeks behind schedule, and after weeks of negotiating in secret and alone, Republicans finally filed their budget conference report,” she said. “The budget continues Republicans’ quest to empower special interest on the backs of hardworking American families. It is entirely inadequate to meet America’s needs.

“It greenlights the Romney-Ryan plan to give millionaires a tax break while destroying millions of jobs and decreasing economic growth for hardworking American families,” Pelosi continued. “It strips millions of Americans of tax credits for affordable health care by repealing the ACA. Here we go again. It freezes Pell grants and ransacks our children’s education. So sad. It turns a cold shoulder to our veterans and ignores our crumbling infrastructure.” 

The GOP budget includes about $55 billion for the departments of Transportation and Housing and Urban Development in the 2016 fiscal year, which is a $1.5 billion increase of the agencies 2015 funding levels, but $9.7 billion less the Obama administration’s budget requested. 

The measure is also largely silent on how to pay for an extension of a separate transportation funding measure that is scheduled to expire on May 31.  

GOP leaders said this week their budget “advocates sensible reforms to ensure the solvency of the Highway Trust Fund while at the same time providing flexibility for a surface-transportation reauthorization that does not increase the deficit. 

“The budget includes a reserve fund to provide for innovative thinking to bring a new surface-transportation bill to passage, as long as that legislation is deficit neutral,” the budget document says. 

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx criticized the Republican budget for keeping sequestration cuts he said have negatively impacted the nation’s infrastructure in place earlier this week. 

“It’s below what the country needs and we’ve said frequently, loudly and whispering in the hallways of Capitol Hill that sequestration is not good for the country and if we continue trying to operate within the sequestration caps, it’s going to do damage to our transportation system,” he told reporters on Tuesday.  

Pelosi said Thursday that Democrats are focused on budget proposals that would result in “bigger paychecks [and] better infrastructure.”  

“When the middle class succeeds, America succeeds,” she said. And there’s a reason for that. Because when the middle class has consumer confidence, and consumes and spends, it injects demand into the economy, creating jobs. We’re not going to have a full turnaround in our economy unless we have bigger paychecks for the middle class.” 

Tags Anthony Foxx Highway bill Highway Trust Fund MAP-21 Reauthorization Nancy Pelosi

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