The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes
Tuesday, April 26, 2005
Transportation: that's another fine bill that's snuck up on us
On Friday, a cloture motion was presented in the Senate on HR 3, which passed the House on March 10.
The RPC says that the motion to proceed will be debated on the floor today Tuesday for a couple of hours, after which the cloture motion will be voted on.
The total authorisation agreed by the House was $284 billion over six years: Senate Finance Committee Chairman and Ranking Member (Grassley and Baucus) want to increase the total to $300bn, apparently.
(There is a companion Senate bill, S 732, that has apparently been reported out of the SFC - though the bill status page on THOMAS doesn't say so. The RPC says Tuesday's action will be on HR 3: that takes me to the edge of my prevailing level of expertise on Senate procedure!)
No doubt, roads have to be built and maintained - and that naturally requires moolah . But a Taxpayers for Common Sense paper identifies in the SFC version of the bill
reductions of more than $1.1 billion to existing excise taxes, many of them unrelated to transportation legislation.
But all pandering to one special interest or another, of course.
The RPC also has a paper (PDF); the Democratic Policy Committee have nothing on their rather horrible site - that I can see .
But, as I said, its site is horrible, so I might have missed it.
My suspicion is that, on the horror scale, HR 3 is not up there with the bankruptcy bill. And no doubt anyone who was the least bit clued in would have known that the cloture motion had been presented on Friday.
But I didn't notice a fuss from (what I've seen of) the left of the blogosphere over the weekend. (Perhaps they all think it's a great bill...)
The lie of the land in the Senate is, it seems, that the bill is adored by all but a few GOP skinflints.
And that's because it's stuffed with pork .
An illustration of the quality of the projects included in the bill:
In the annals of Washington pork, surely the Gravina Bridge would rate honorable mention. If the project is approved, taxpayers would ante up $200 million for a one-mile span linking the town of Ketchikan, Alaska, with Gravina Island, on the southern end of the Alaskan Peninsula.
This sort of project was standard practice in Japan in the good old days of the LDP virtual one-party state: big-ticket contracts make the accounting so much easier.
(Not, of course, that any actual Japanese-style corruption would afflict the the Gravina Island project. But a whole lot of gratitude amongst contractors would be created in the Howling North, at the taxpayer's expense .)
There are in the bill no fewer than 4,000 earmarks like Rep Don Young's fatuous Alaskan erection, it seems .
Ain't democracy grand?
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