Passage of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act) is nothing to celebrate. Christmas has come early this year for members of Congress, and for their pay for play campaign contributors, “K Street” lobbyists, businesses, unions, and other special interest groups. All have millions of dollars in “gifts” at taxpayers’ expense buried under the FAST Act Christmas tree.
House Speaker Paul Ryan, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairperson Bill Shuster, Senior Democratic Committee Member Peter DeFazio, their respective senior staff, and Washington’s “K Street” lobbyists all helped influence and author FAST Act. They all knew about the details buried in the fine print. This determined who would be the beneficiaries for passage of FAST Act.
For example, a provision in the package will allow Emigrant Savings Bank to operate with more borrowed money, dodging a rule from the Dodd-Frank financial reform law. Economy reporter Zach Carter pointed out in a Huffington Post article that the provision won’t help finance the repair of roads and bridges, and he called it a “multimillion-dollar favor” granted by the legislators.
Did members of Congress take an Evelyn Wood speed-reading class to absorb the 1,300 pages contained in this spending bill? They had the final version only hours before being asked to vote up or down. We would all be better off if members of Congress took the time to actually read, line by line, any proposed legislation before voting.
Great Neck, N.Y.
Larry Penner is a transportation historian and advocate who previously worked in the transportation field for 31 years.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.