22 Republicans Vote for Barbara Boxer’s Tax and Spend Highway Bill

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012 and is filed under Blog

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As you all know, we have been working hard to defeat the highway bills and advocate for real federalism reforms that will restore responsibility for transportation back to its primary source and save billions in future deficits.  Just a few minutes ago, the Senate passed the highway bill (S.1813) 74-22.  The appalling thing is that 22 Republicans, about half the conference, voted for it.

The $109 billion 2-year reauthorization bill continues to spend 20% of gas tax revenue on mass transit, 10% on highway beautification, and will impel future bailouts in order to achieve solvency of the Highway Trust Fund.  It will also raise taxes in order to fund some of the deficit.  It is simply indefensible for any Republican to vote for it.  All Republicans like to brag about voting against Obamacare and cap and trade, but it’s votes like this that really illuminate those who stand on the side of a limited constitutional federal government.

Now the bill heads to the House, and thanks to Senate Republicans, there will be tremendous pressure on House conservatives to pass the one “workable” bill before the March 31 hard deadline.  Some are asking why we should oppose the Senate bill if we will be forced to pass a stopgap bill, which roughly mimics the funding levels of the Senate bill.  The answer is really quite simple.  It’s better to extend current policies for two months or so than pass a 2-year bill that precludes real transportation and budget reform for two years.

Below the fold is the full tally from the roll call vote [Note that Senator Kiek is recovering from a stroke in Illinois and Orrin Hatch is home in Utah fighting for his career.]:

Rejected by a vote of 30-67:
Democrats
0-50
Republicans
30-15
Independents
0-2

NAYS (67)

NOT VOTING (3)

DEMOCRATS (1)

REPUBLICANS (2)

INDEPENDENTS (0)