Sen. Boxer Spoiling For a “Fight” Over Transportation Enhancements

Sen. Barbara Boxer, chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and lead champion for the transportation bill, just spoke on the Senate floor. I didn’t catch all of it, but I tuned in when she was upbraiding her Republican colleagues (read: Sen. Tom Coburn) for holding up the transportation bill.

“Where was your outrage when we were building roads and bridges in Iraq and Afghanistan?” she demanded.

She challenged Republicans to debate her and explain themselves. “They may defend why they allowed projects to go through abroad but not here,” she said. “They may say why they want to cut safety programs from the highway bill that will save lives.”

Then she launched into a defense of Transportation Enhancements.

That Transportation Enhancements program that they want to do away with was a bipartisan idea that came from Republican John Chafee and Democrat Daniel Patrick Moynihan in 1991… Twenty years, we’ve had that program! Can we look at it, can we reform it, can we make it work better? Of course! But one of our Republican friends said, “Just cut it and you don’t even need a vote; just take it without a vote.”

No. If we’re going to vote on that, we’re going to fight about it and have a vote. But let’s have a vote!

She also expressed her outrage that a bipartisan extension bill, sent over from the House, can’t get to a vote in the Senate. Indeed, it’s looking like the Senate will miss tomorrow’s deadline for an FAA extension, which is now rolled together with the surface transportation extension.