Friday, July 31, 2009

Senate Votes To Re-Finance Highway Trust Fund After A Day Of Republican Obstructionism


Ultimately, the Senate passed H.R. 3357 yesterday, a bill that will restore funding to the Highway Trust Fund. But first there were a slew of typically obstructionist, time-wasting Republican amendments that had to be voted down. The rejected amendments came from three of the Senate's most scandalous members, David Diapers Vitter (R-LA), John Ensign (R-The Family) and Jeff Sessions (KKK-AL). The amendments were all defeated along party lines with DLC corporate whores Ben Nelson (NE) and Blanche Lincoln (AR) spending the day on the Dark Side of the aisle with their ideological soulmates.

In the end, the bill passed 79-17, Nelson and Lincoln crossing back to the Democratic side they so rarely visit these days. Needless to say, all of what passes for GOP leadership-- McConnell, Kyl, DeMint, Sessions, McCain, Thune-- voted no. Over half the Republicans left them to stew and voted with the Democrats.

What the bill does is to add $7 billion to the Trust Fund, as well as ensuring the continued flow of federal aid to states unable to cover unemployment benefit costs, and bolstering a federal program offering low-interest housing loans-- all 3 of which were in danger of running out of money while Congress is on break. More than four and a half million people would have been without unemployment benefits nationwide had the GOP been able to sabotage passage. Conservatives opposed unemployment insurance when it was first proposed in 1932 and they still try to kill the concept whenever they can. Ironically, unemployment insurance was first proposed by and enacted in the state of Wisconsin and today one of its most vicious enemies is right-wing corporate shill Paul Ryan from southeast Wisconsin.

The highway trust fund, made up of revenue from gasoline taxes brings in around $40 billion annually that the federal government spends each year on roads, bridges and transit projects. With the general downturn in the economy, more fuel efficient vehicles. and less driving, the fund's balances have been declining recently and will go into the red sometime next month. Had the Republicans been able to kill the bill, the result would be that federal payments to states for highway and transit projects, now made on a daily basis, would be strung out and made once a week or twice monthly. The $7 billion would keep the fund solvent through Sept. 30, the end of this fiscal year.

When the bill that passed yesterday in the Senate was voted on by the House the day before, every single Democrat and more than half the Republicans voted yes. It passed 363-68. What kind of irresponsible lunatics voted know? Lot's of Confederate anti-government extremists and fellow travelers in other states. The Let-America-Fail crowd somehow feels their only shot at returning to power is if the country goes into crisis. Who are these people? Among the worst offenders are familiar names:

Todd Akin (R-MO)
Spencer Bachus (R-AL)
Gresham Barrett (R-SC)
birther Marsha Blackburn (R-TN)
lobbyist John Boehner (R-OH)
Paul Broun (R-GA)
birther John Campbell (R-CA)
Eric Cantor (R-VA)
Jason Chaffetz (R-UT)
David Dreier (R-CA)
euthanasia fanatic Virginia Foxx (R-NC)
Scott Garrett (R-NJ)
conspiracy nut Louie Gohmert (R-TX)
birther Jeb Hensarling (R-TX)
Darrell Issa (R-CA)
birther Kenny Marchant (R-TX)
Tom McClintock (R-CA)
birther Randy Neugebauer (R-TX)
Tom Price (R-GA)
Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA)
Pete Sessions (R-TX)
sex predator John Shadegg (R-AZ)
alcoholic John Sullivan (R-OK)
Buy Bull expert Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA)



At 7:51 AM, Anonymous Balakirev said...

"Needless to say, all of what passes for GOP leadership-- McConnell, Kyl, DeMint, Sessions, McCain, Thune-- voted no."

All to the good. I hope every damn one of them becomes associated with saying "no" to the good and the useful. Now, if we can only get the Democrats to start running ads hitting the Repubs on just that point, over and over--

But you know it won't happen, Howie. They'll leave it up to us to get the message across.

At 8:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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