Boehner Masks GOP Attack on Safe Streets By Opposing Flowers

House Speaker John Boehner spoke to reporters yesterday morning. His message: “Republicans Relentlessly Focused on Jobs.”

John Boehner says there will be no more flowers on his watch. Photo: ##http://www.humanflowerproject.com/index.php/weblog/comments/lady_birds_wild_highways/##Human Flower Project##

“House Republicans want to get a highway bill done,” he said. “We want a bill, and our colleagues are working toward producing a bill. We just want to make sure it’s a bill that includes real reforms, to ensure that taxpayer funds are paying for legitimate projects that support economic activity – not planting more flowers and beautification projects around the country.”

Of course, Boehner is hiding behind the “no flower” argument to mask the House GOP’s real objective — dismantling the Senate transportation bill’s provisions for street safety programs, which are funded from the same pot as “scenic beautification” projects. The GOP’s true target — the Cardin-Cochran amendment — gives local agencies control over funds from programs to make streets safer for walking and biking, including Safe Routes to School and Transportation Enhancements. Those funds go toward transportation projects that save people money, reduce congestion, improve air quality, and combat obesity.

Not only does that money go a long way in terms of building infrastructure and getting results, it also produces more construction jobs per dollar than highway spending. So maybe Boehner is not really focused on jobs — “Relentlessly Focused on Fossil Fuels” is more like it. In his comments, Boehner added that the House GOP also supports “bipartisan, job-creating initiatives like the Keystone pipeline” — which is expected to create about 6,000 jobs. (Hardly enough to have a real impact on the nation’s unemployment, when last month’s job growth of 69,000 was considered extremely weak.)

Soon after the speaker’s press conference, the House passed the Domestic Energy and Jobs Act, 248 to 163, to gut the Clean Air Act and open more public lands to oil drilling.

As we all anxiously await word of what will be included in the conference committee’s final report, Boehner’s veiled attack on street safety programs signals that the House GOP is also “relentlessly focused” on preventing local governments from reducing the death toll on their streets. The speaker’s remarks came just before Sen. Barbara Boxer and Rep. John Mica released a statement saying they’ve “moved forward” and hope to have a bill done by the June 30 deadline. Note the complete disregard for yesterday’s (admittedly non-binding) instruction to finish work by today.

Meanwhile, the House also voted 260-138 yesterday to insist on the inclusion of the coal ash deregulation provision in the final conference report — just another way House Republicans are putting their zeal to damage the environment before their interest in creating jobs.

  • Erik Griswold

    The flowers on highways project was begun by Lady Bird Johnson, a woman with far more class and integrity than the Boner.  Why, she was even a Texan.  Oh, but wait she was one of them there evil “Democrats”

  • It’s all in how you frame the message.  Change “lean finely textured beef” to “pink slime”  and you get it out of school lunches without an argument.  If you introduce a bill declaring that blue is the color of the sky, you will call it “The Blue Sky Jobs Bill” to get support.  Lump pedestrians and bicyclists in with “wildflowers” and we look like silly frills.

    As much as I like wildflowers and their many benefits (storm water management, reduced mowing costs), getting lumped in with wildflowers has really hurt in letting the cars-only people control the message.

  • KillMoto

    @373e8fa62870cd8017f1a84cbd2f6a59:disqus I like that, “It’s all in how you frame the message.”

    How about this:  “House Republicans Hate Safe Routes to Schools”

  • Jaansj

    That’s republicans for you, gut the bil of essential items like providing safe roads for our kids

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