House Transportation Bill Delayed

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) will delay a vote on the $262 billion transportation bill (H.R.7) that was supposed to take place later this week.

The reason? There are roughly 300 amendments filed to a bill that until just last week was expected to pass. And what led to the turnaround? We have a pretty good idea.  Conservatives in Congress, conservative groups (including us) and conservatives like you all realized that this bill was shaping up to be yet another big-government spending boondoggle.

The bill spends far more than transportation revenues will bring in, which will result in the need for a taxpayer bailout to cover the difference. To offset the coming bailout, the bill included a proposal to reform federal employee pensions. In a move that is typical of Washington, but usually hidden to the public, this same offset will also be included in the package to extend the payroll tax cut, unemployment insurance and the so-called “doc fix.” According to CQ:

“[An aide to Speaker Boehner] also said lawmakers needed time to examine their options for offsetting the bill’s cost, because a proposal involving federal employee pensions is also being used in a package (HR 3630) that would extend a Social Security payroll tax cut and other expiring provisions.”

Two different bills, same pay for. So, it is back to the drawing board for the House.

This happens a lot more than you think in Washington. Consider the gimmick of “war savings.” Some in Congress and President Obama believe that these non-existent “savings” can pay for everything. Last year they were supposed to pay for the President’s second stimulus, and this year they were supposed to pay for the “doc fix” and President Obama’s new transportation spending.

Right now in Congress, the debate has shifted from straight spending cuts to cutting spending in order to pay for additional spending. It’s typical ofWashington, but it is not helping our country.

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