GOP Tea Party Activists Hold Highway Bill Hostage
With less than two weeks before federal money runs out for transportation projects across the country, a partisan showdown is developing between Senate Democrats and House Republicans over passing a new bill.
The standoff, based on sharply differing views about the overall expense of the bill and how to pay for it, jeopardizes thousands of road and bridge construction projects.
On Wednesday, House Transportation Committee Chairman John Mica, R-Florida, said the House would soon pass a three-month extension of existing funding to provide time for negotiations over a longer-term bill.
But that idea was rejected by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, who said Tuesday he was “inclined not to” pass a temporary funding extension. Instead, Reid said House Republicans should accept a two-year, $109 billion bill that recently passed the Senate with broad bipartisan support.
Reid said tea party activists are to blame for the House’s refusal to consider the Senate bill.