Driving in Circles: Another Day, Another Round of GOP Disarray

Instead of passing a bipartisan Senate transportation bill that creates or saves more than 2 million jobs, House Republicans let their transportation drama dominate the day.

Politico – GOP punts highway vote again

Sound familiar? If it feels like the GOP has been driving around in circles, you’re right.

Now would be a good time for the Republican leadership to start matching their floor schedule to their talking points.

“The current plan is to see what the Senate can produce and to bring their bill up,” Boehner told reporters. “In the meantime we’re going to continue to have conversations with members about a longer-term approach, which most of our members want. But at this point in time, the plan is to bring up the Senate bill or something like it,” Boehner said. [Reuters, 3/8]

Or take the advice from members of their own party urging them to stop the gimmicks and get off the transportation crazy train:

Republican Mayors:

…Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin said “extensions mean delay. And that costs our city money.” [Politico, 3/26]

Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett said it was clear to him that Congress failed to understand the complexities and time needed to see major projects completed. “We had four and a half miles of an Interstate recently completed. It took 14 years,” Cornett said. [San Gabriel Valley Tribune, 3/23]

Republican Senators:

“…if we hadn’t passed this highway bill today, we would have had to do a highway extension, which would have cost dramatically more.” – Senator Jim Inhofe [Press Release, 3/14]

“I would hope that the House would consider a bill of this magnitude. It will put a lot of people back to work. 74 votes, it’s a bipartisan bill. That’s a strong message. I wish they’d take up the Senate bill and pass it.” – Senator Richard Shelby [Politico, 3/16]

“I don’t think it’s helpful to have these extensions…” – Senator John Thune [Roll Call, 3/13]

Speaker Boehner’s own Republican House Members:

“The Senate version seems reasonable to me and I think that the House ought to take it up and consider it.” – Rep. Charlie Bass [Politico, 3/27]

…U.S. Reps. Judy Biggert of Wheaton, Robert Dold of Winnetka and Mike Quigley of Chicago wrote Mr. Boehner and other House leaders asking for a floor vote on the two-year bill that passed the Senate with 74 votes. Mr. Quigley is a Democrat, the other two Republicans. “While we believe that a longer-term bill is ideal, the Senate bill would provide the transportation stakeholder community with two years of certain funding,” the letter says. “Providing this certainty as soon as possible is particularly important in colder weather climates, where the construction season is short.” [Chicago Business Times, 3/26]

Of course, House Republicans are well acquainted with this type of roundabout. From threatening a government shutdown to bringing America to the brink of default to jeopardizing the payroll tax cut to voting to end the Medicare guarantee, Republicans have constantly forced the middle class to pay for their dysfunction.

It’s time to take a different path. As Leader Pelosi tweeted:

Time is running out for #TransportationBill–House GOP needs to abandon ‘my way or no highway’ agenda & pass bipartisan Senate bill #4jobs.

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