GAO agrees with Cruz: funding notice is a rule, opening the door for Congress to cut partisan strings on $5.5B in funding
WASHINGTON, D.C. – After a July 2023 letter from U.S. Senate Commerce Committee Ranking Member Ted Cruz (R-Texas), the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has determined the Biden administration’s effort to handcuff $5.5 billion in transportation spending to progressive priorities is a rule and therefore subject to the Congressional Review Act (CRA). The CRA requires agencies to report the issuance of rules to Congress and, in turn, gives Congress an opportunity to vote to overturn such rules in the form of a joint resolution of disapproval.
Following the GAO decision, Sen. Cruz announced his plan to file a CRA resolution challenging the Biden administration’s woke policies that are imposed on the three major surface transportation programs. The three grant programs covered by the funding notice have specific criteria set by law, but the Biden administration has piled on progressive priorities from Biden’s executive orders, including:
- “Projects that have not sufficiently considered equity and barriers to opportunity in their planning, as determined by the Department, will be required to do so before receiving funds for construction.”
- “Projects that have not sufficiently considered climate change and environmental justice in their planning, as determined by the Department, will be required to do so before receiving funds for construction.”
These items would not have passed in Congress. The additions change the kinds of projects that can access federal funding and make the grant process unnecessarily complicated and costly.
Sen Cruz said,
“I intend to introduce a resolution under the Congressional Review Act, and I urge my colleagues to join me in blocking the Biden administration's efforts to tie up federal funding with radical environmental and racial equity requirements. President Biden and Secretary Buttigieg should allocate grant funding by implementing the law as written instead of trying to direct taxpayer money to favored projects and constituencies.”