Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2015—Conference Reportby Senator Elizabeth Warren
Posted on 2015-12-03
WARREN. Mr. President, Senator Boxer deserves tremendous credit
for negotiating a long-term funding bill for our crumbling roads and
bridges. The Fixing America's Surface Transportation, FAST, Act is an
important turning point in addressing our Nation's infrastructure
needs, and the bill will create quality jobs and stimulate economic
growth. The FAST Act ends years of short-term congressional extensions
and legislative gridlock that prevented our country from making
critical investments in our roads, bridges, and mass transit.
The bill reauthorizes Amtrak and provides vital funding for positive train control technology and hazmat training programs. This 5-year reauthorization will allow our States and communities to finally plan for the future and address long-overdue maintenance backlogs. Additionally, the FAST Act takes important steps towards addressing the growing problem of violence against our transit operators. These hard- working men and women deserve a safe working environment, and I will continue to work with my colleagues to make sure we do everything we can to achieve that.
However, I must oppose the bill because Republicans have used this strong bill as a vehicle to roll back rules that protect consumers and our financial system.
This is the third time in the last year that Republicans have used this hostage-taking approach. Last December, Republicans used the government funding bill as a vehicle for a provision written by Citigroup lobbyists that would repeal a critical anti-bailout rule in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Weeks later, Republicans used a broadly popular, bipartisan bill extending the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act to jam through another provision that weakened Dodd-Frank's rules on risky derivatives trading. And now, in the FAST Act, Republicans have handed out more than a dozen goodies to financial institutions, including a requirement that does little but bog down the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau with needless paperwork and administrative tasks.
If Democrats continue to support bills that include these kinds of rollbacks, it will simply encourage Republicans to use other must-pass bills to repeal or weaken even larger portions of Dodd-Frank and our other financial rules. That is why I must oppose this bill--and why I hope the American people weigh in with their representatives against this kind of cynical hostage-taking.