The House GOP’s Campaign Strategy: Do Nothing on Transportation

A Senate committee has unanimously approved a transportation bill. Three other Senate committees are holding hearings on the bill. But over in the House? Crickets.

Why is T&I Committee Chair Bill Shuster allowing the transportation bill to get lost in political maneuvering? Photo: ##http://shuster.house.gov/recent-photos/##Office of Bill Shuster##
Why is T&I Committee Chair Bill Shuster allowing the transportation bill to get lost in political maneuvering? Photo: ##http://shuster.house.gov/recent-photos/##Office of Bill Shuster##

At a press conference last week, former transportation secretary — and former House Republican — Ray LaHood scolded his old colleagues for failing to take action.

He said there was “nothing happening in the House” on the transportation bill, The Hill reported.

“Nothing introduced, nothing debated, no discussion and we’re in a mess,” LaHood said. “We really are. The American people get it.”

LaHood is probably right. A few days after those remarks, Adam Snider reported in Politico that members of the House Transportation Committee, from both sides of the aisle, agree that the lame duck is the best — or even the only — time to work on a bill. Snider explained the reasoning:

Congress won’t be able to act on a long-term policy bill that could cost $100 billion in an election year. Next year is a new Congress with new members, making an immediate policy deep dive too difficult. But by the time everybody is up to speed in 2015, the presidential election cycle will be in full swing. And come January 2016, things will start all over with a new president and another new Congress and slate of lawmakers.

“If they try to talk about it now for six years, it will never get done,” said the Republican Snider talked to. “If they get to November and they have the guts to do something in the lame duck, that’s where the opportunity is.”

It’s a baldly political calculus for determining the future of the nation’s transportation systems, but that’s business as usual in Washington.

  • Kevin Love

    This is an excellent example of one of the many reasons for constitutional reform to make the USA a parliamentary democracy. As in, if the politicians cannot agree upon a budget and money bills, then there is an election and the people get to decide.

    Funny how the prospect of an election tends to concentrate politician’s minds wonderfully. And actually get things done.

  • Lars Ulrich

    LOL. good luck undoing 225 years of constitutional precedence

  • bolwerk

    A good start would be getting a state to do it.

  • Kevin Love

    A while back, I ran into a bunch of folks in Hawaii pushing for this. Their model was the province of British Columbia.

  • bolwerk

    Even getting a small number of states doing it could seriously weaken the Republikrat grip on American politics. A third party (or a few of them) simply needs to prevent either other party from having a majority of the seats to wield enormous power in Congress.