American taxpayers deserve a better Congress. Like the old Keystone Kops of silent films a hundred years ago, the members of our House of Representatives couldn’t quite figure out which way to turn this week.
The Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) expired over 900 days ago and the Congress this week passed yet another extension because they could not agree on a reauthorization for the highway bill.
This should be a no-brainer. The highway and transit construction industries put people to work, provide necessary infrastructure and make commerce possible in this country.
I can’t say it any better than it was stated in a joint statement from the American Road & Transportation Builders Association and the Associated General Contractors of America:
"Extension after extension of these programs is no substitute for a multi-year reauthorization that could begin to address the nation's staggering infrastructure challenges. . . . The federal highway and public transportation programs have been governed by extension for 30 months. Congress can and must do better.”
The House Republican leadership this week was downright comical. A Monday vote on a three-month extension was canceled because the Republican leadership couldn’t get enough votes, CNN reported. Then Tuesday a vote on a two-month extension was canceled. House Speaker John Boehner considered bringing up the bill passed recently by the Senate before deciding not to. Then at the last minute, the House rushed through a 90-day extension, the Senate OK’d it, and the president signed it just in time to avoid a nationwide shutdown when the current extension expires on March 31. The situation would be laughable if it weren’t so tragic.
And now the Congress is off on another state or district “work period,” i.e., recess. I would withhold their pay until they accomplished something worthwhile. They seem to need to be “incentivized” to get the job done.