Republican election momentum might be slowing down the passage of a long-term highway bill in 2013.
Citing GOP sources, a Wall Street Journal article carrying the headline “Republicans See Advantages in Go-Slow Approach on Bills” indicates that House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Chair John Mica (R-Fla.) is feeling more powerful these days thanks to a surge in the polls for presidential candidate Mitt Romney and some crucial Senate seats. If the Republicans gain control of the Senate, White House, or both, Mica might be able to move his bill through a little more easily.
The House and Senate have not been able to compromise on four major issues concerning the highway bill: the Keystone pipeline, environmental streamlining, transportation enhancements and the creation of new federal programs. According to Mica, the Senate bill would create programs that will cost $3 billion annually and does nothing to eliminate bureaucratic red tape to help expedite the project-approval process.
“I spoke by conference call with House Republican conferees and we all remain committed to working toward a bicameral conference report that includes long overdue reforms to our nation’s highway programs,” Mica said in a statement. “House conferees stand ready to negotiate in good faith but there must be a willingness on the part of the Senate to do the same. We believe our solutions are fair and practicable.”