How exciting! Though there are about 28 days until the Highway Trust Fund is expected to run dry there is only one day until Congress sets off for a hard-earned 5 week vacation. Kudos on another magnificently orchestrated funding crisis. Please do rest up for a continuation of the festivities in the fall. What will you think of next?! Perhaps some way to honor the one-year anniversary of the profound and meaningful government shutdown of 2013?
Editorial boards and columnists are describing you, the 113th Congress, a lot of things: “cowardly” and “shortsighted.” “Feckless” and “a total, embarrassing failure.” In spite of such barbs you continue to hold your heads high. As noted in the Wall Street Journal, “House Speaker John Boehner has said he won’t accept” the Senate’s dirty approach to “reauthorize the Highway Trust Fund only until Dec. 19 to force Congress to write a large-scale package this year.” Stand strong, Mr. Speaker! Don’t let thugs like Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee push you around by saying things like the House bill
amounts to ‘generational theft’ because it pays for a large share of the $10.8 billion needed during the next 10 months through budget maneuvers that have an effect over several years.
This country was built on budget maneuvers! If you don’t like the way we do things then you can get out, Mr. Corker.
Sigh… The Washington Post is pretty straight-forward in their assessment of the situation by describing it as reckless right there in the title of the Editorial Board’s piece. They, like most everyone, just seem a bit exasperated by what’s going on: we’d like to see no budgetary gimmicks and think it’d be best to establish a long-term fix like, say, what Senator Corker and Senator Chris Murphy proposed a month ago by raising the gas tax and indexing it to inflation.
The Atlantic goes in a bit deeper and throws some numbers at us and research at us, such as
The estimates are that failure [to replenish the Highway Trust Fund] will cut federal transportation dollars by 28 percent, affecting 100,000 projects that employ 700,000 workers…
That Obama and his job-killing policies! Why don’t you lay off the half-slabs and Bud Lights and do something about this?! Oh, that’s right – this is Congress’s job. Anyway, ratpag eagerly awaits the results from the next day or so out of Congress as we see which short-term fix is passed (will the next crisis be in December or May?) or, if we really want an exciting August, whether the trust fund simply just drys up.
To close with another line from the Wall Street Journal, “the Transportation Department will begin delaying or cutting payments to states on Friday unless Congress quickly passes legislation to finance the fund.” In short, it won’t be good for anybody if nothing happens today. Dammit, Congress! You keep making ratpag cynical.