First it was kicked down the road, then it was whipped.
On July 31, the House of Representatives chose to delay its vote on the 2014 funding bill for the U.S. DOT and Housing and Urban Development. Less than 24 hours later, the Senate’s version was defeated, thanks to a late rally by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
“It’s sad that Mitch McConnell is in a position where he feels he must whip against a bill like this one,” said Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.).
In an attempt to follow spending limits set by the Budget Control Act in 2011, Senate bill S. 1243 set the spending level for the U.S. DOT and Housing and Urban Development at $54 billion for FY 2014. The House was calling for $44 billion, and Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) believes there is enough support for it to pass when the measure is brought back on the floor in September.
“I believe votes would have been there for the THUD bill, but we had some 50 amendments yet to consider on that bill, and considering everything else we’ve got on this week, [we] decided that finishing that bill in September was the right thing to do,” Boehner said.
The House THUD bill cuts $7 billion from the federal transportation and housing departments, and completely wipes out high-speed rail. President Obama said he would veto the measure. The Senate bill maintains funding levels for both the U.S. DOT and Housing.