The Soap Opera Continues: House GOP Gridlock Continues Over Partisan Highway Bill

Wanted to be sure you saw this Politico article highlighting ongoing GOP division as gridlock continues over their highway bill that destroys 550,000 jobs, rolls back safety and environmental standards, and fails to meet our nation’s infrastructure needs:

Key excerpts:

“If President Barack Obama is looking for an example of House Republican dysfunction to use during this campaign season, he should look no further than the GOP’s efforts to pass a highway bill championed by Speaker John Boehner.”

“After considering several iterations of legislation aimed at rebuilding the nation’s crumbling infrastructure paid for by increased energy production, leadership privately concedes they’re at a standstill and don’t know what to do.”

They originally planned to have the bill completed by mid-February. Now, it won’t even be on the floor next week. Many Republicans involved say a stopgap measure to avert a shutdown of the nation’s infrastructure building apparatus on March 31 is likely. But there are only 12 legislative days left before current policy expires.”

The problem lays bare a simple reality: Boehner and other GOP leaders failed to gauge what their conference would be willing to support.”

“The Republican leadership spent much of the past two weeks trying to get members to support a five-year highway bill authored by Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman John Mica (R-Fla.) and prescribed by Boehner. They’ve toyed with the length of extension and the price to garner more support on the floor. But nearly 100 Republicans have voiced opposition to the Mica bill after several weeks of whipping by leadership.”

None of this is new. House Republicans have had trouble passing bills all year — everything from government funding measures to averting a downgrade in the country’s debt rating. But this bill is a must-pass for Republicans — politically and substantively.

“Politically, senior House Republican aides cringe when they think about the optics of letting highway funding expire — especially after enduring a two-week partial shutdown of the Federal Aviation Administration last summer. Not passing a highway bill would be a disaster, they say. Republicans had been selling the transportation bill as this year’s main ‘jobs bill’…”