Two Infrastructure Jobs Bills Die in Senate
Two competing versions of a transportation-related job creation bill went down yesterday in the Senate. The first, the Rebuild America Jobs Act (S.1769), was a Democratic proposal, modeled on President Obama’s job creation bill, to invest $50 billion for infrastructure and another $10 billion as seed money to create a new national infrastructure bank.
Given Republican opposition to what they consider a repeat of a failed stimulus — and to an infrastructure bank they say is unnecessary at best and politicized at worst — the failure of the bill is no surprise. The bill garnered a slim majority — 51-49 — but not enough to overcome the threat of a GOP filibuster.
Meanwhile, the Republican proposal would have pushed back many health, safety, and environmental regulations that corporations consider onerous. Defeated in a 47-53 vote, the bill also would have extended SAFETEA-LU for two more years — nearly matching the length and spending levels in the bipartisan EPW proposal — without funding the shortfall such spending would cause to the Highway Trust Fund. The bill wouldn’t have been a “clean” extension of current law, though, since it eliminated the “set-aside” for bike and pedestrian infrastructure, making it the fourth attempt in less than two months by Senate Republicans to eliminate or weaken TE — and the fourth failure.