Today, U.S. Senator Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina) made the following statement after voting against the Senate highway bill.
"This bill proves that the bipartisan addiction to big spending in Washington hasn't ended," said Senator Jim DeMint. "This bill requires a $13 billion dollar bailout because senators in both parties insisted on reckless spending increases far above what is available in the highway trust fund. It also leaves in place wasteful and corrupt Davis-Bacon mandates that amount to taxpayer-funded kickbacks from Democrats to union bosses. There's nothing in this legislation to prevent future earmarks and it even contains a new billion dollar slush fund for unvetted transportation projects."
"Congress needs to wake up and realize we're $15 trillion in debt and we can't keep doing these status-quo big spending compromises. We need commonsense reforms of the highway program that would empower states with flexibility to make their own transportation decisions. If we devolved the highway program to the states we could build and repair roads faster and less expensively.
"The Senate also missed an opportunity to end taxpayer subsidies to energy companies that distort the energy market and hurt innovation. We need to end corporate welfare by taking out special interest tax carve outs and make our tax code fairer and flatter."
The Wall Street Journal wrote today in an editorial on Senator DeMint's amendment to end energy tax subsidies:
"Most dismaying was the bipartisan trouncing of an amendment from South Carolina Republican Jim DeMint to eliminate tax credits and subsidies to all forms of energy--coal, gas, oil, wind, solar, biofuels, batteries and nuclear power. This would have saved taxpayers some $90 billion over 10 years, and Mr. DeMint proposed to use that money to finance a cut up to one percentage point in the corporate tax rate. Giving up special-interest loopholes in exchange for lower rates would make the tax code both fairer and more efficient. But Mr. DeMint's amendment failed, 72-26, with every Democrat and 19 Republicans refusing to end taxpayer giveaways to anything labeled green. So much for corporate tax reform, which everyone claims to favor until it comes time to vote."
Last week, Senator DeMint exposed a new slush fund for unvetted road projects in the Senate bill. In an op-ed on FoxNews.com, Senator DeMint wrote:
"Hidden within the 1,500-plus page bill, is the massive expansion of an innocuous program called the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA). TIFIA is a federal program created in 1996 that hands-out loans and loan guarantees to build private and public roads around the country The Senate highway bill explodes TIFIA's funding by 820 percent, from $122 million to $1 billion, and giving the program the authority to loan $10 billion per year. The bill also ends the programs merit-based decision making, transforming TIFIA into a first come first serve feeding trough, which will allow wasteful pork projects to be funded. It seems that even though Congress enacted an earmark moratorium, big spenders have creatively gutted a program of spending restrictions and will use it to keep the pork flowing."