WirePOLITICS: Boyle opposes transportation, housing bill

Tom Waring, the Wire

U.S. Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-13th dist.) last week voted against a bill that funded transportation projects and programs for the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The bill passed 216–210. All but three Democrats voted against it. Also voting no were 31 Republicans.

President Barack Obama has vowed to veto the bill.

“This bill drastically shortchanges job-creating investments critical to hard-working American families, like roads, bridges and rail systems, and undermines access to safe and affordable housing. These investments are especially important for Southeast Pennsylvania’s crumbling infrastructure,” Boyle said.

“The bill’s cuts to Amtrak are particularly offensive in light of last month’s Philadelphia derailment and the growing needs of the Northeast Corridor. It is unacceptable that the United States still lags behind in many basic rail safety investments, in addition to our sorry deficit in high-speed innovation and modernization.”

Americans for Limited Government is applauding the adoption of an amendment to the aforementioned transportation and housing bill that would defund implementation of the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule and the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Assessment Tool.

The amendment, introduced by Arizona Republican Rep. Paul Gosar, passed, 229–193.

Supporters of the amendment want to prohibit the Department of Housing and Urban Development from forcing municipalities to redraw zoning maps to achieve racial and income integration as a condition for eligibility for community development block grants.

“House passage of Rep. Paul Gosar’s amendment to the HUD appropriation bill has now defunded Obama administration regulations that usurp local zoning authority. It serves as proof that the power of the purse can be alive and well when Congress chooses to use it. Rep. Gosar showed his commitment to federalism and the people of this nation through his courageous leadership on this issue. We anticipate a vigorous debate in the Senate as the discussion of our nation’s housing policies moves forward,” said Rick Manning, president of Americans for Limited Government.

Robert Romano, senior editor for Americans for Limited Government, explained that Republicans with their low-tax message tend to do better among the middle and upper-middle classes, while Democrats with their social welfare regime tend to do better among the poor.

The solution for Democrats, Romano said, is to force communities dependent on federal funding to build more homes and apartments where Democrats are likely to live.

Romano added that forcing wealthier communities to build so-called affordable housing units could depress property values, increase local taxes and place a greater strain on public services.

Rep. Brendan Boyle voted against the amendment.

Meanwhile, Boyle joined Hawaii Democratic Sen. Brian Schatz and Pennsylvania Republican Rep. Pat Meehan in introducing the American Export Promotion Act to help small- and medium-sized firms grow their export capacity, and better access and compete in global markets through grant and technical assistance.

“We should be laser focused on supporting cost-effective, job-creating programs like this,” Boyle said. “Our top priority must be creating American jobs and empowering U.S. manufacturers to access and compete in foreign markets. I am proud of the manufacturing base in my district, and understand the challenges presented by global competition. We need to access growing consumer markets abroad in a way that also empowers American businesses and workers. We need to do all we can to empower them in that fight. This legislation does just that.”

The American Export Promotion Act authorizes the International Trade Administration’s Market Development Cooperator Program. The program awards grants of financial and technical assistance to support trade association or local chamber of commerce projects that enhance the global competitiveness of U.S. industries.

Successful grantees pay a minimum of two-thirds of the project cost and agree to sustain the project after the MDCP award period ends.

The Export-Import Bank is set to expire on June 30, absent congressional reauthorization.