Senate Paves Way for Highway Bailout
For more than a month, conservatives have been concerned both the House and Senate highway bills were paving the way for massive future bailouts. Both bills set spending levels that far exceed revenues coming into the federal Highway Trust Fund. CQ (sub. req’d) has the details on the Senate bill:
CBO scores the bill as deficit neutral over 10 years, but in the next five years it would cost about $47 billion. However, Republicans have charged that the package of pay-fors reported by the Senate Finance Committee last week would result in diverting funding from the general fund to the Highway Trust Fund. While the trust fund has historically been financed from fuel excise taxes, outlays have exceeded revenues in recent years and Congress has had to authorize transfers of $35 billion from general revenue to pay for the additional spending since 2008. Budget hawks have expressed disappointment that the bill doesn’t solve the trust fund’s structural financing issues, but instead takes 10 years to pay for the costs of extending the surface transportation programs for two years. CBO projected that, under the measure, the highway account and transit account of the Highway Trust Fund would be exhausted in fiscal year 2014. (emphasis added)
This is more of the same from Washington – perpetuating the problematic status quo. It is big-government spending under the guise of a job-creation plan “paid for” with phony offsets that stretch well beyond the life of the bill. The CQ article highlights one of many reasons that principled conservatives in the Senate remain opposed to the plan.
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