Losing by two points

News AASHTO Journal November 16, 2001
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With action on an economic stimulus package stalled on the Senate floor, Congressional transportation leaders may change strate

With action on an economic stimulus package stalled on the Senate floor, Congressional transportation leaders may change strategy to attempt to include additional security spending in another bill, such as the defense appropriations bill.


Senate debate of an economic stimulus package reported by the Finance Committee began on Tuesday. Although the chairman's amendment forwarded by Senator Max Baucus included $15 billion in spending for security measures, Baucus did not include a proposed $5 billion in additional highway obligation authority as many transportation advocates had hoped. An amendment to add the highway obligation authority was filed by Republican Senators Robert Smith (N.H.), James Inhofe (Okla.) and Craig Thomas (Wyo.). However, the defeat of two procedural motions brought action on the bill to a standstill and no action on the amendment was taken.


The bill stalled after the Senate failed to waive two "points of order" which were raised against the bill by Republicans. In each case, 60 votes were needed to overcome the points of order, and they were sustained by a 51-47 vote.


The administration also weighed in against the Senate version of the bill in a letter issued on Thursday which said the bill did not contain the tax relief measures needed to jump-start the economy.


In an address to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Vice President Richard Cheney also stressed the need for an approach based on tax relief rather than spending increases.


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