February 07,2012

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Julia Lawless, Antonia Ferrier, 202.224.4515

Hatch Statement on Senate Finance Committee Approval of Two-Year Highway Bill

WASHINGTON – Citing concerns over increasing taxes to pay for more spending, U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee, today opposed the tax portion of the Highway Investment, Job Creation and Economic Growth Act of 2012, which was reported out of the committee this evening.

“I appreciate the effort to move a bipartisan proposal forward, but increasing taxes for more federal spending in this fragile economy doesn’t create a sustainable foundation for our nation’s transportation system. As such, I could not, in good faith, support this legislation out of committee,” said Hatch.  “Furthermore, a better way forward is through bringing more revenue and more energy, as my substitute amendment would have accomplished.  Accessing more American energy both on and offshore, and allowing the Keystone pipeline to move ahead is what our nation and our economy needs.”

Hatch filed amendments to improve the two-year surface transportation bill, including an amendment that would have allowed the Keystone XL pipeline to move forward and that would have opened more American energy resources both on and off shore to fund the bill.  That amendment was ruled nongermane and out of the scope of the Finance Committee’s jurisdiction. 

A Hatch amendment to clarify that retirement accounts for federal employees are treated the same as the retirement accounts of private citizens was included in the final mark that was reported from committee today. According to IRS data, current and retired federal employees owe more than $3.3 billion dollars in delinquent taxes.

“It’s past time federal employees, who aren’t paying their taxes to the tune of $3.3 billion, are put on the same footing as every other American,” Hatch said.  “If you break the law and don’t pay your taxes, you should be penalized the same as everyone else, irrespective of where you work. I’m glad this common-sense amendment that will level the playing field for taxpayers across the country has been incorporates into this legislation.”

The Highway Investment, Job Creation and Economic Growth Act of 2012 was favorably reported out of the Senate Finance Committee today by a vote of 17 to 6, with one member voting present.

To view full summaries of the Hatch amendments click HERE.