House Transpo Bill Doesn’t Have the Votes, So Republicans Split It in Three

With more and more Republicans coming out against provisions of the House transportation bill, the GOP leadership has opted to split their massive bill into three parts to be debated and voted on separately, Politico reports. The thinking, as Larry Ehl writes, is that members will be allowed “to go on record voting ‘yes’ on sections they strongly support, and ‘no’ on sections they strongly oppose.” One bill would deal with transportation reauthorization (including the Ways & Means Committee’s transit “fix”), one with energy production, and one with federal pension reform (yes, all of that was included in the same bill until today).

Such a move would mark a strange turn for the House transportation bill, which started as an infrastructure spending bill with vague revenue sources and ended up as a bill that opened up vast areas for drilling and eliminated dedicated funding for transit and bike/ped programs.

David Goldston, government affairs director for the Natural Resources Defense Council, told reporters today that “clearly, the Republicans thought they didn’t have the votes as a whole package,” hence the decision to split it up. Presumably they will try to combine the pieces again later on. “Whether even with this gambit they’ll have the votes to move it along is anybody’s guess,” Goldston said.

The House Rules Committee will meet tonight at 5:00 p.m. on the bill, and will decide how the bill will be divided. They will also need to deal with the over 300 amendments that had already been proposed to H.R. 7 in its current form.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Voinovich Has a Job-Creation Proposal for the President

|
Before leaving for Asia yesterday, President Obama announced a job creation summit to take place next month and declared himself "open to any demonstrably good idea" to cut the rising unemployment rate. Sen. George Voinovich (R-OH) (Photo: UPI) Taking the president at his word, Sen. George Voinovich (R-OH) fired off a letter today with a […]

Pressure Mounts on House to Take Up Senate Bill. Does the House Care?

|
The U.S. Conference of Mayors, Congressional Democrats, some Congressional Republicans, unions, politicians from New Jersey, Chicago and Louisiana — they all have one message for the House of Representatives: Pass the Senate transportation bill. President Obama made it a key part of his weekly address this Sunday, pointing out that the economy would “take a hit” […]

Mica, GOP Leadership Looking to Raise Transportation Spending Levels in Bill

|
According to yet another great report from Jeff Davis at Transportation Weekly, House Republican leadership has given House Transportation Committee Chair John Mica permission to seek additional revenues to fund the transportation reauthorization at levels $15 billion higher than initially proposed. One Republican source, quoted in Transportation Weekly, said that given the persistently high unemployment rates, […]

Three Chicagoland Republicans Defect on House Transpo Bill

|
Did John Boehner and and John Mica overreach with their proposal to strip dedicated funding for transit, cycling, and walking in the House transportation bill? That’s the question observers have been asking since House GOP leaders sprung this politicized legislation in committee last week. It’s too soon to tell whether the bill will clear the […]