Republican Minority Blocks Murray Amendment

We just got word that the Murray/Feinstein amendment, which would have increased funding for both highways and transit in the Senate stimulus package, received support from 58 Senators, falling short of the 60 votes necessary to be considered. Does that clear the way for Chuck Schumer’s transit amendment? Not exactly. The vote calls into question whether Senate Republicans will allow any amendment to pass that increases the overall size of the bill.

The roll call hewed closely to party lines. Republicans Arlen Specter and Kit Bond joined Democrats in the majority, while Louisiana’s Mary Landrieu was the sole Democrat to vote against. Cabinet nominee Judd Gregg and ailing Ted Kennedy abstained. Because the amendment would have increased the overall size of the bill, 60 votes were necessary to advance it. (Amendments that merely shift money around only need a simple majority to pass.)

The Murray amendment was far from perfect, but it would have bulked up the meager $8.4 billion for transit currently on the table. One wonders how far the Republicans will take their obstruction of infrastructure investment, heedless of the advice coming from one of their own top pollsters.

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