Issue Brief posted May 20, 2013
Eight Questions for Transportation Secretary Nominee Anthony Foxx
If confirmed as the next Secretary of Transportation, Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx will have opportunities to break with the business-as-usual transportation policy that revolves around Washington and special-interest politics. It is important to the confirmation process to understand Foxx’s position on existing programs and to what extent he agrees with the…
Issue Brief posted May 3, 2013
Seven Costly Sins of the Water Resources Development Act of 2013
The Senate will soon consider S. 601, the Water Resources and Development Act of 2013 (WRDA). This bill would authorize federal spending on an array of water resource projects, including for ports, harbors, inland waterways, beaches, and wetlands, most of which are run by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
S. 601 does contain small positive reforms, such as increasing…
Issue Brief posted April 22, 2013
Congress Should Reprioritize Highway Trust Fund Money to Improve Mobility
The federal Highway Trust Fund (HTF) faces serious funding shortfalls in fiscal year (FY) 2015 and beyond, in large part due to funding demands from an expanding array of projects other than general purpose roads. Because transportation programs cannot be made immune to current fiscal constraints, it is crucial for Congress to reprioritize HTF spending and recommit to…
Issue Brief posted March 25, 2013
Virginia and Maryland’s Transportation Plans Fuel Tax Hikes, Not Mobility
The federal government’s ultimate goal for transportation should be to devolve the resources and decision making to the states, who know their transportation needs better than Washington does. Embracing devolution, however, does not equate to an endorsement of ill-conceived, misguided policy prescriptions. Two such examples are the plan recently passed by the Virginia…
Issue Brief posted March 13, 2013
Transportation and Infrastructure Policy: More State and Less Federal Control
Some lawmakers on the House Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) Committee seek to justify a deep-rooted federal role in transportation and infrastructure, citing the growing number of port, waterway, road, and bridge projects needed in the states. They would exempt transportation from any federal budget belt-tightening and instead argue for increased federal spending…
Issue Brief posted January 14, 2013
Fiscal Cliff Deal Extends Wasteful Farm Subsidies
Congress recently passed the so-called American Taxpayer Relief Act to avert the fiscal cliff. In classic Washington style, lawmakers managed to squeeze in several unrelated provisions, including a nine-month, partial extension of the 2008 farm bill.
A fiscally prudent farm bill would have reformed the $85.2 billion food stamps program and eliminated or at least…
Issue Brief posted December 10, 2012
Fiscal Cliff Deal: Including Farm Bill Would Lock in Spending
Lawmakers looking for spending cuts to avert the fiscal cliff may try to include the nearly $1 trillion House Agriculture Committee–passed farm bill and its $35 billion in “savings” as part of a “grand bargain.” While savings would be welcome, they should be used for deficit reduction, not to pay for new spending. They should also be based on responsible policy.
Audio Recorded on August 7, 2012
Heritage In Focus: Emily Goff Discusses the 2012 Farm Bill
Emily Goff, Research Associate at the Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies at the Heritage Foundation, discusses the recent ruling on the 2012 Farm Bill in the House, Jackie Anderson hosts.…
Issue Brief posted August 1, 2012
Farm Bill Extension: Dodging Agriculture Reform Will Not Do
Despite considerable pressure to adopt a subsidy-laden farm bill as drought conditions wither crops, the House on Tuesday scrapped plans to extend massive agriculture subsidies for yet another year. The extension had been considered a lesser evil than the five-year reauthorization of costly farm programs, but evidently House Speaker John Boehner (R–OH) has realized (at…
Issue Brief posted July 10, 2012
Shallow Loss: The 2012 Farm Bill’s New Subsidy Program
The Senate recently passed the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012, which repeals a set of wasteful and antiquated commodity programs. Yet it supplants those program cuts with a costly new subsidy—the Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC) program. The House draft farm bill also gets rid of the so-called direct payments and replaces them with a similar new subsidy.
Issue Brief posted June 28, 2012
Transportation Conference Bill: Some Good Reforms, but Too Much Spending
Senate and House conferees have reached an agreement to fund surface transportation programs through 2014. The bill, MAP-21 (H.R. 4348), should be measured against how it steers the country away from its current path of reckless spending and whether it improves congestion, mobility, and safety.
Lawmakers deserve credit for including reforms such as environmental…
White Paper posted June 27, 2012
Appropriations Tracker: FY 2013
Both the House and the Senate are proceeding with appropriations, the annual spending measures due by the start of the new fiscal year on October 1. Appropriations, which make up about one-third of the federal budget, are “discretionary” spending, meaning they require annual legislative approval. By contrast, mandatory or “direct” spending—the kind that funds government…