Lodi News-Sentinel

Biden may call out airlines in State of the Union

- Valerie Yurk CQ-ROLL CALL

WASHINGTON — As Congress sets its sights on aviation policies and oversight of the White House’s implementa­tion of infrastruc­ture and energy transition investment­s, President Joe Biden could echo Democrats’ demands for airline passenger protection­s, dig into aviation safety and lean on key infrastruc­ture law projects as part of his State of the Union address.

Biden took the White House with big promises for transporta­tion — he released goals early on to cut greenhouse emissions from the transporta­tion sector by 2050, highlighti­ng the need to address the country’s infrastruc­ture backlog and promote public transit, vowing to create jobs along the way.

Since his last State of the Union address, Congress passed the Democrats’ budget reconcilia­tion law, which included electric vehicle tax incentives and other key climate provisions, and the administra­tion has had a year to begin implementi­ng the $1.2 trillion infrastruc­ture law.

Biden is likely to underscore the importance of implementi­ng those laws, especially as Sen. Joe Manchin III, D-W.Va., continues to bash the Treasury Department’s guidance on EV tax credits and House Republican­s promise to use their new majority to focus oversight on infrastruc­ture law spending.

At a House Transporta­tion and Infrastruc­ture Committee hearing on Feb. 1, industry leaders welcomed Republican­s’ oversight agenda while GOP lawmakers continued to criticize the administra­tion for “oversteppi­ng” on interpreta­tion of the law.

“It is incumbent on Congress and in particular, this committee, to ensure the money from (infrastruc­ture law) is spent responsibl­y and is directed toward making our nation’s transporta­tion supply chain more efficient and resilient,” Chairman Sam Graves, R-Mo., said during the hearing. “We owe it to the American people to do just that.”

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