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BREAKING: Boehner Says GOP Panning 18-Month Transpo Bill

Wednesday, February 29, 2012 - 06:47 PM

UPDATED WITH BOEHNER COMMENTS House Republican leaders have arrived at an 18-month highway bill they hope can replace a much broader five-year bill that faltered earlier this month, according to lawmakers and aides.

But speaking Thursday morning, House Speaker John Boehner says the 18-month option was falling flat with members of congress.  ""Apparently our members don't think too highly of it," Boehner said of attempts to sell the shorter bill to the House majority. ""I would only think of it as a fall-back measure."

Boehner said leadership is still trying to work on a 5-year bill.

The 18-month bill would reauthorize the Highway Trust Fund into mid-2013, and also reconnects federal transit funding to the trust fund. Disconnecting the two proved contentious in the 5-year bill and caused several Republicans in transit-heavy districts to revolt.

The shorter bill would  also glean about $40 billion from new cuts to federal worker pensions, a move guaranteed to enrage Democrats, especially since the figure appears to be much larger than a $10 billion estimated gap in the bill for the Highway Trust Fund.

The rest of the bill's policies remain largely the same to the 5-year bill that was scuttled when conservatives also rejected it because of its $260 billion price tag. Republicans do not yet have a total cost figure for the 18-month bill, an aide said.

Republican members were polled for their support while on the House floor Wednesday evening, according to Rep. Steve LaTourette (R-Ohio), a moderate and GOP point person on transportation. "They're going to try to jam it," he said. "They went backward because that's what the conservatives said they wanted," LaTourette told Transportation Nation.

A Republican leadership aide confirmed the details of the new bill and said it could be on the House floor as early as next week.

Follow Todd Zwillich on Twitter @toddzwillich

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Comments [5]

Junkpile

The arcane blue/red blight that inhibits some basic adult supervision of one of the most productive jobs/economy bills is remarkable. Here is some advice as they roll to the finish line:

1. Keep it 5-6 years
2. Stick with the no earmarks, silos or set asides
3. Emphasize policy that allows states to direct modal appropriateness - not feds
4. Advance the consolidation of US DOT - the 58,000 employee federally are many times redundant to state and local staff already in place - at least some efficiency should come from all this effort
5. Balance the transportation budget. At $52B or $55B (House or Senate) per year - it is well above what revenues are in place (about $40B). While maybe this is way too much to ask from the teenage drama and grease fire that is DC - but can less oxygen in the room be consumed by self serving non-related amendments and blue/red blather and more (at least discussion) effort made to the real problem of finance. One cent per gallon of user fee (I know gas tax) hardly offsets the lost revenue each year as the CAFE (great way to reduce foreign oil dependency from people that hate us but a real unfunded mandate) standards progress and rob the transportation funding. Don't even start with tolling or VMT - they are more than 5-20 years out in the blue/red sausage house - fiscal responsibility needs to start right now in the next 5-6 year before the entire industry twists in the wind dying a slow death. One cent of user fee per gallon raises about $1B per year - the silence here is wrong on both sides of the aisle.

Mar. 03 2012 10:25 AM
john O'Malley

before the the congress starts looking at cutting the penison for federal workers let them cut thier pension and health care benifits and join the real world. Not all federal workers are over paid, granted some are the same is true in the corp. world. it seems to me that BOTH parties are out of touch with the real world. Until the problem is solved in Washington everything will remain status quo.

Mar. 02 2012 08:40 AM
Joseph

They are good at being angry and belligerent. They are bad at actually legislating.

Mar. 01 2012 02:13 PM
Paul Ward

Panning or Planning - Freudian slip ?

Mar. 01 2012 12:08 PM
R. Daniel

The House has become a complete joke. The world must wake up each and every day and laugh at us.

Mar. 01 2012 10:54 AM

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