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Policy Letter

POGO Appropriations Requests for the Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies

(Illustration: Renzo Velez / POGO; Photos: Getty Images)

The Honorable Brian Schatz
Chair
Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing
and Urban Development, and Related Agencies
Senate Committee on Appropriations
722 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Cindy Hyde-Smith
Ranking Member
Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing
and Urban Development, and Related Agencies
Senate Committee on Appropriations
702 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Tom Cole
Chairman
Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing
and Urban Development, and Related Agencies
House Committee on Appropriations
2207 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Mike Quigley
Ranking Member
Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing
and Urban Development, and Related Agencies
House Committee on Appropriations
2083 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Chair Schatz, Ranking Member Hyde-Smith, Chairman Cole, and Ranking Member Quigley:

The Project On Government Oversight (POGO) is a nonpartisan independent watchdog that investigates and exposes waste, corruption, abuse of power, and when the government fails to serve the public or silences those who report wrongdoing. POGO champions reforms to achieve a more effective, ethical, and accountable federal government that safeguards constitutional principles.

To further strengthen Congress’s efforts to promote government accountability and transparency, we suggest one modest reform, which could be addressed in either bill text or report language accompanying the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies appropriations bill: prohibiting funding that leads to increased pretextual traffic stops.

POGO submits the following enclosure for language to be included in the fiscal year 2024 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies appropriations bill and report.

Thank you for your consideration of these proposals to strengthen government accountability and oversight. For more information, please have your staff contact me at [email protected].

Sincerely,

Joe Spielberger
Policy Counsel

Enclosure: 1

cc: Senate Committee on Appropriations Chairman Patty Murray
House Committee on Appropriations Chairwoman Kay Granger
Senate Committee on Appropriations Vice Chair Susan Collins
House Committee on Appropriations Ranking Member Rosa DeLauro


POGO Recommendations to Strengthen Government Accountability and Oversight

In order to strengthen government accountability and oversight, the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) recommends the following reforms be incorporated into report language accompanying both the Senate and the House Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies bills for fiscal year 2024.

Prohibiting Funding that Leads to Increased Pretextual Traffic Stops

Appropriations Subcommittee: Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies
Agency:National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
Type of Request:
Report Language

Background
The police killing of Tyre Nichols is only the latest example — after Daunte Wright, Philando Castile, Walter Scott, and too many others — of hundreds of people over the past five years, disproportionately Black, who were killed during or after a routine traffic stop.1 Research shows that Black drivers are more likely to be stopped, searched, and killed than white drivers.2 Racial bias in traffic enforcement and pretextual stops increasingly puts Black drivers at higher risk of facing violence, injury, or death.

Proposed Report Language
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shall, in collaboration with the Federal Highway Administration and State Highway Safety Offices, coordinate with states receiving funds through the Section 402 State and Community Highway Safety Grants Program to collect and report data to NHTSA on the total number of traffic stops, stops resulting in citations, and stops resulting in arrests, categorized by the racial and ethnic demographics of the driver and officer. The NHTSA shall prioritize funding to states that include in their annual Highway Safety Plan submitted to NHTSA strategies to reduce pretextual stops and racial disparities in traffic enforcement, and descriptions of successes in meeting these performance targets.