The biggest group of holdouts are conservatives who want highway programs to be paid for entirely by federal gas and diesel taxes even though that might mean a nearly 40 percent cut in spending because revenue from those taxes has declined.Think about the potholes in roads near you and the nearly 70,000 structurally deficient bridges in this country. Think about the wait times you face for public transit and the rising costs as public transportation authorities raise fares to patch funding gaps. Think about the already high unemployment among construction workers. Now imagine all that with 40 percent less federal funding. That's what a significant number of House Republicans are holding out for, because cutting funding by a mere 21 percent from 2005 levels isn't good enough for them.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is pushing for the House to pass the Senate bill rather than a stop-gap 90-day extension which the Senate would also then have to vote on:
"It's a good bill," Reid said. "But over in a big, dark hole we now refer to as the tea-party-dominated House of Representatives ... they destroyed their own bill, and now they won't agree to take up our bill." House Republicans, he said, "are going to have to feel the heat of the American people."And really, if a body as dysfunctional as the Senate can pass something, it's a truly remarkable statement if the House can't follow suit.