Senate Unlikely to Challenge House Cuts to MAP-21 Budget

If you were hoping the Senate would swoop in and save the day after the House voted to cut $785 million from the transportation budget, you might be disappointed. Politico’s Burgess Everett reports that Senate Appropriations Chair Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) isn’t planning to present an alternative transportation budget proposal. Mikulski is considering rolling several appropriations bills into a “hybrid” continuing resolution bill, but transportation isn’t one of them.

##http://www.mikulski.senate.gov/media/photogallery/12-5-2012-2.cfm##Sen. Barbara Mikulski## isn't planning to introduce a transportation budget to compete with the one the House passed.

Why not include transportation in her CR? Sounds like she thought transportation was just too controversial. “Some people in the House don’t like bills that help transportation, some don’t like high speed rails, some don’t like a lot of things,” she told Politico. So what are the non-controversial items she’s planning to work on? “Agriculture, commerce-justice-science, homeland security, defense and military construction,” says Everett.

Meanwhile, Everett also reports that House Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee Chair Tom Latham (R-IA) is trying to make sure the Democrats don’t try any funny stuff. Since Congress can never agree on a budget anymore, they keep passing the previous year’s budget and agreeing not to make too many changes, because arguments over the changes will gum up the works.

Of course, the Republicans just made a change not just to the previous year’s budget but to the delicate compromise of the transportation bill. But if the Democrats try to just start fresh and pass a real budget for the rest of FY 2013, Latham has a poison pill in store for them: another ban on funding California high-speed rail. No matter: as Everett reports, “California doesn’t need any money for two years and was unlikely to get any federal help in the last six months of this year anyway.”

In any event, no one seems to have much appetite for a real budget fight anyway. They fight enough over these “easy” CRs.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

House GOP Tries to Horse-Trade Senate Bill For Keystone Pipeline

|
In another desperate attempt to push forward their fossil fuel agenda, House Republicans have indicated that even though they’ve been incapable of passing a transportation bill, they’re willing to go to conference committee and pass the Senate bill. All the Senate Democrats have to do in return is approve the Keystone XL pipeline. Our sources […]

How Will the House Answer the Senate’s Transportation Funding Bill?

|
The full Senate passed a major appropriations bill yesterday, including funding levels for transportation and housing. The Senate put the kibosh on Sen. Rand Paul’s attempt to strip bike/ped funding from the federal transportation program, as we reported yesterday. Here’s the lowdown on the bill as a whole. The upper chamber maintained funding for several key livability […]

Senate Offers a More Multi-Modal 2014 Transportation Budget Than the House

|
Last week, a House panel envisioned some big cuts to next year’s transportation budget. TIGER and high-speed rail would get nothing, Amtrak would get slashed, and ixnay on all that green “livability” crap. (And that’s practically a quote.) The Senate Appropriations Committee voted this morning on the budget its own transportation subcommittee put together, and the end […]

Transportation Funding Bill Dies Unceremoniously in Both Chambers

|
A few short hours after the Senate Appropriations Committee passed a $594 billion defense spending bill, Republicans blocked the $54 billion transportation and HUD bill from coming to the floor for a vote. House Republican leadership had blocked its own THUD bill the day before. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told Politico that Republicans had […]

GOP Appropriations Bill Would Turn TIGER Into a Roads Program

|
As the president’s transportation proposal fades from the news cycle and we eagerly await the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee’s six-year reauthorization bill, here comes the House Republicans’ proposed budget for transportation and housing for next year. Note: What the House GOP released yesterday wasn’t an authorization bill but an appropriations bill for 2015. […]

A Quick Guide to the State of Transpo Policy on Capitol Hill

|
Coming back to Streetsblog after a few months away, I needed to get up to speed on the latest with transportation-related legislation, and I thought some of you might too. Here’s what you need to know: Appropriations House Republicans passed a pretty terrible Transportation and Housing and Urban Development (THUD) appropriations bill last week, decimating […]