As I reported to you on Tuesday, I could not support the amendment to provide funds for arming Syrian rebels as part of the Obama Administration’s developing plan to destroy ISIS. The amendment passed Wednesday and was added to legislation to fund the government beyond September 30th.
I still believe that the President should continue the air campaign against ISIS to protect our interests and allies, and continue working to build an international coalition. So far, we have not identified enough reliable allies willing to join this effort in a significant role. I also remain concerned about the lack of information we have about the Syrian opposition rebel factions. I do not believe those groups have been vetted enough and I am just not comfortable handing weapons over. Let’s not forget, a year ago, many ISIS fighters would have been trained by the U.S. as part of a “trusted” force.
As I stated Tuesday, if the strategy is clarified and international partners make firm and explicit commitments to participate, Congress can and should be called back into session immediately for further discussion and a vote on the matter. I voted NO. The amendment passed and was added to H.J. Res. 124, the Continuing Resolution.
Rep. Reed voted AYE.
On Wednesday the House considered H.J. Res. 124, Continuing Appropriations Resolution. H.J. Res. 124 funds the federal government through December 11th. As noted above, H.J. Res 124 includes funding to arm Syrian rebels. For this reason, I could not support it. I voted NO. H.J. Res. 124 passed.
Rep Reed voted AYE.
On Thursday the House considered H.R. 2, the American Energy Solutions for Lower Costs and More American Jobs Act. This legislation with the great sounding title is a combination of twelve bills that the House has already passed. Some of the troubling provisions include a measure to approve the Keystone XL pipeline and make it exempt from federal permitting regulations, and prohibiting the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from studying the impact of carbon pollution. H.R. 2 also seeks to expand drilling on public land by limiting federal oversight and reducing the level of environmental review. The Administration has announced that it will veto this legislation. I voted NO. H.R. 2 passed.
Rep Reed voted AYE.
The House considered H.R. 4, the Jobs for America Act on Thursday as well. This legislation is also a combination of bills that have already passed, and it doesn’t really accomplish what its title suggests. H.R. 4 makes a number of business tax cuts permanent, such as bonus depreciation, without offsetting their cost. While this legislation focuses on business tax cuts, it does nothing to address tax cuts on working families. Some of these, such as the child tax credit, are set to expire. Because the tax cuts in H.R. 4 aren’t paid for, the legislation would increase the deficit by more than $500 billion dollars. The Administration has announced it will veto this legislation. I voted NO. H.R. 4 passed.
Rep Reed voted AYE.
On Wednesday the Committee on Transportation’s Special Panel on Public Private Partnerships released its report. You may recall that in January, I was named Ranking Member of the Panel, which focused on the nature and scope of public private partnerships in the field of transportation. This is one of a series of special panels that the committee established to more fully explore specific aspects of our nation’s infrastructure. Throughout this process, my focus has been on how to best invest limited federal transportation funds, and what role Public Private Partnerships can play in stretching those dollars. The Panel studied numerous P3s throughout the country and found a mix of successful partnerships as well as ones that did not meet expectations. Although a transparent and functioning P3 can meet certain transportation needs, when it comes to improving our nation’s infrastructure there is no question that federal investment remains a key factor in project success.
The report contains a number of bipartisan suggestions for ways to improve the use of P3s while ensuring that taxpayer funds are protected. I gained a lot of insight from my experience serving on the Panel and was impressed with the willingness of fellow panel members from both sides to remain open minded and focus on getting answers to the important questions P3s raise.
If you are interested in reading the full report, you may access it here: