Energy and the Environment

Note to "Scrambling" Boehner: It's the Policy, Not the Process on Highway Bill

Just a quick note for Speaker Boehner: When it comes to your behemoth of a highway bill, the problem is your policies, not the process. Republicans are scrambling to split the bill into parts to make it more palatable to Republicans already skeptical of the measure, but that won’t change the fact that the bill destroys 550,000 jobs, bankrupts the highway trust fund by 2016 and leaves our roads and bridges woefully underfunded.

But as Roll Call reports, even with some procedural jiu jitsu to chop up the bill, passage is anything but a sure thing:

“Speaker John Boehner is scrapping plans to pursue his signature transportation and energy package as one large measure and will instead break it into three smaller pieces, a move GOP aides said is aimed at overcoming internal Republican opposition.”

But privately, GOP aides said leadership had come to terms with the fact that parochial divisions within the Republican Conference, united Democratic opposition and a conservative faction opposed to federal highway spending had made the measure politically unwieldy.

“…But a Republican aide was extremely skeptical, saying the bill has pitted factions of the party against itself on issues ranging from preferential treatment for certain ports, public transportation spending, off-shore drilling and even anti-union provisions.

“’This is a mess,’” the aide said.”

It is time for House Republicans to abandon this partisan “mess” of a highway bill and work with Democrats on a path forward, as a bipartisan group of lawmakers are already doing in the Senate.