Provides Mechanism for Increased Infrastructure Spending
This week, the House Budget Committee advanced their 2018 budget resolution, Building a Better America by a party line vote of 22-14. The resolution sets spending levels for both mandatory and discretionary programs, provides instructions for tax reform and establishes a mechanism that would allow for increased spending for any potential new infrastructure plan. The bill would significantly increase defense spending while cutting both mandatory and discretionary programs. The fate of the resolution remains unknown with conservative Republicans believing cuts don’t go far enough and moderates believing the cuts go too far.
The budget also sets several policy priorities, including aligning Highway Trust Fund spending to revenue coming into the Fund. In addition, the budget eliminates subsidies for Amtrak, the Federal Transit Administration’s Capital Investment Grants and the TIGER grant program. Most of these positions are consistent with previous House Republican budgets; however, they are unlikely to ever be passed into law. The budget also creates a “Reserve Fund” that would allow for an increase in infrastructure funding in the event that Congress takes up an infrastructure spending bill and prevent any objections to such a bill based on budgetary points of order.
The biggest takeaway from the resolution is that it underscores the need for fixing the Highway Trust Fund and providing revenue for increased infrastructure investment as a part of comprehensive tax reform.