TEA still in limbo
- Published Monday, May 30, 2005, by the Scripps Howard News Service
Another detour on highway bill
Congress generally assigns low numbers to bills with high or symbolic
importance. So you would think HR 3, the huge, six-year highway and
mass-transit bill, would move expeditiously to passage. But you would
The old highway act expired at the end of September 2003, but
lawmakers, unable to agree on a new bill, have repeatedly extended the
old law with its much lower funding levels.
It looked like they might have a measure ready for passage when the
House approved a $284 billion bill that the White House said was too
expensive but still OK. But then the Senate tacked on another $11
billion, meaning negotiations with the House would have to be
reopened. And the White House further complicated matters by saying
that $295 billion really was too expensive and that President Bush
would veto it.
This is all pretty funny unless you're a state or local government
official who sees the prime summer construction season a-wasting.
On Thursday, Congress extended the old bill -- for the seventh time.
It now expires June 30. Maybe lawmakers will get around to the new
measure when they return from Memorial Day recess June 6.