SVBC Board member Ian Dewar continues in his pursuit to keep us all informed about the Federal Transportation Bill. Below is a wrap-up from last week, in reverse chronological order.
Phase 1 of the Transportation Bill is approved in the House
The Republican-controlled House endorsed a plan Thursday to vastly expand oil and gas drilling off the nation’s coasts to help pay for a $260 billion transportation bill. This bill contains provisions on opening up drilling in ANWR, fast-tracking approval for the Keystone XL pipeline and would open the eastern Gulf of Mexico off Florida and areas off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts to drilling. The Senate is expected to reject this and the White House has threatened to veto it anyway
House Speaker John Boehner says Transportation Bill will have some changes
The House GOP’s $260 billion transportation and infrastructure bill is facing a revamp, but Speaker John Boehner made it clear Thursday where he’s going for more votes. And it’s not to Democrats. Boehner (R-Ohio) suggested to reporters he’s not fishing for Democrats to support the bill and will instead tweak the legislation in an effort to woo more Republicans.
Boehner delays the vote on the Transportation Bill in the House
Boehner (R-Ohio) told his conference Wednesday morning that it was "more important that we do it right than that we do it fast" in explaining his decision, a clear signal GOP leaders lack the votes to win approval of the package.
Boxer sees ‘no path forward’ on Senate Transportation Bill
"Right now, there is no path forward," Boxer said even as she vowed to continue pushing for a clean vote on the transportation proposal. Boxer said that the bill has been held up by "ridiculously unrelated amendments."
White House Threatens to Veto the House Transportation Bill
“Because this bill jeopardizes safety, weakens environmental and labor protections, and fails to make the investments needed to strengthen the nation’s roads, bridges, rail, and transit systems, the president’s senior advisers would recommend that he veto this legislation,” read the White House’s statement of administration policy.
GOP breaks up the Transportation Bill
House Republicans are splitting up their mammoth transportation and energy bill in an effort to overcome rising GOP and conservative think tank discontent with the measure.
Since the package has run into reluctant Republican lawmakers and a unified Democratic front, leaders decided to let members vote separately on the transportation, energy and pension provisions that would later be recombined into a single bill. The five-year, $260 billion proposal has drawn friendly fire for a variety of reasons: Conservatives have challenged the price tag and some of the funding mechanisms, while moderate Republicans don’t like the idea of including oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Nearly 300 amendments were filed to the Rules Committee.
Obama releases proposed Transportation plan for $476 billion over six years
The White House budget released today proposes $476 billion over six years for surface transportation, and the president calls for an immediate $50 billion infusion in spending this year. It also increases a transportation lending program by four fold while reducing funding for airport grants. “This transportation budget is fully paid for,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood on a conference call with reporters. “This is real money.”