Senator Ted Cruz is taking a firm stance against the Biden administration's decision to link federal funds to certain progressive priorities.
In a recent development, Senator Ted Cruz from Texas has voiced his concerns over the Biden administration's move to tie federal funds to specific left-leaning agendas.
Cruz's main contention is with the Department of Transportation's (DOT) handling of three grant programs. These programs are crucial for funding various surface transportation projects across the country.
The DOT has mandated that recipients of these funds must give due consideration to both equity and barriers to opportunity, as well as climate change and environmental justice during their planning phase.
The Senator from Texas expressed his intent to introduce a resolution under the Congressional Review Act, Fox News reported.
He is urging his colleagues to support him in opposing the Biden administration's attempt to intertwine federal funding with stringent environmental and racial equity prerequisites.
"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," Cruz stated.
He further emphasized that President Biden and Secretary Buttigieg should allocate grant funding by adhering to the law as it stands. Cruz believes they should refrain from directing taxpayer money towards specific projects and groups based on personal preferences.
In June, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg announced the commencement of applications for three grant programs.
These programs, namely the National Infrastructure Project Assistance, Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA), and Rural Surface Transportation Grant, collectively received a significant funding boost of $5.6 billion.
The majority of this funding is allocated to support the INFRA program under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021.
Buttigieg expressed that the grants awarded would aid in the realization of "transformational infrastructure projects across the nation."
However, the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) issued by the DOT in June mandates that recipients must address equity and climate concerns comprehensively.
According to the DOT's NOFO, projects that haven't adequately considered equity and barriers to opportunity or climate change and environmental justice during their planning phase will be obligated to do so before they can access funds for construction.
These funding conditions are in line with President Biden's executive order titled "Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government."
Following the announcement by Buttigieg, Cruz sought clarification from the Government Accountability Office in July. He inquired whether the NOFO qualifies as a rule and if it falls under the purview of the Congressional Review Act (CRA).
The CRA is a law that has been in place for almost three decades. It empowers Congress to revoke federal regulations. The federal watchdog confirmed that the NOFO is indeed a rule and is subject to the CRA.
Since the Republicans gained majority control of the House, they have passed several CRAs to overturn Biden administration regulations. Some of these revocations include rules related to water protection, heavy-duty vehicle emissions, and more.
Senator Shelley Moore Capito, the Ranking Member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, has previously expressed her commitment to holding the Biden administration accountable for any overreaches in environmental and energy matters.
"We'll continue to use the tools at our disposal to lead the way in protecting American families, workers, and employers from the harmful, seemingly endless, regulations of the Biden administration," she stated.