GOP's Oily Transportation Bill Left for Dead on the Side of the Road

And that makes the failure of two oil-soaked pieces of legislation today: As you may have heard, a provision intended to approve the Keystone XL was halted in the Senate. But the much bigger beast—a truly terrible $260 billion, 5-year transportation bill that would have sought to drastically expand offshore and onshore oil drilling, gut public transit funding, open ANWR for exploration, and approve Keystone (as well as gut public pensions, in a later iteration)—went down as well.

Here's the Hill:

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Thursday said he plans to pass the Senate highway bill after an 11th hour effort to take up the House bill this month faltered.

“As I told the members yesterday, the current plan is to see what the Senate can produce and to bring their bill up,” Boehner told reporters at his weekly news conference Thursday ... In a closed-door meeting Wednesday, the Speaker made another push for a $260 billion, five-year transportation bill that had struggled to gain support in the GOP ranks. He said that unless the House acted on its own, it would have to consider a two-year, $109 billion Senate bill that appears likely to pass in the coming days.

For an in-depth look at what made the House bill so bad—and so off-putting even to moderate Republicans—see my piece in Salon.

Essentially, the bill was so extreme in various ways that it lost GOP support from different corners of the caucus. Not only was it fiscally reckless, a conservationist's nightmare, and a turn-off for urban Republicans, but it was simply a terribly designed bill. And it fell apart at the seams.

Good riddance.

Tags: Congress | Transportation

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