The Highway Bill Will Be Back

Feb 21, 2012

Thanks to the efforts of good conservatives, we sent a message to Washington that the highway bills (H.R.7 and S.1813) are unacceptable, but the fight isn't over. Right now, Congress is not in session, which means lawmakers are back home in their districts trying to defend these terrible pieces of legislation.

And they're getting help. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is doing its part to tout the bill and it's big-government spending priorities. Now, to be fair, the Chamber does some good things - like defending free enterprise - for the country, but this is not one of them.

The Chamber will be spending $500,000 on their "Make Transportation Job #1" campaign. They will be running radio and television ads in Arkansas, Idaho, New Hampshire, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Wyoming. The Chamber's executive director of transportation and infrastructure, Janet Kavinoky, described the campaign:

"The idea is to get out, give people a good sense what the bill is and get them talking to their members of Congress and have them get the bill done. We want Congress to feel like it needs to come back to Washington and get the bill done and put it to bed."

This is not just some issue that needs to be passed, as it has been in the past. That is the reason spending has been climbing so rapidly. Congress passes something under the radar and Americans don't pay attention. When that happens, Members of Congress feel they can put all kinds of big-government priorities into the bill and no one will notice. This needs to stop.

The highway bill, as we've stated before, spends more money than revenues will bring in. This will result in taxpayer funded bailouts to cover the difference. It also relies heavily on a new revenue stream - from expanded oil and gas exploration - to make up some of that difference.

Any new revenues and spending offsets should be used to pay down our debt and deficit, and not to justify NEW spending binges. Just finding new ways to pay for new spending won't help our economy, and will bring us closer to collapse - by using these new revenues for anything other than deficit reduction will take us in the wrong direction.

Stay vigilant! Don't be fooled by slick ads and political double-speak. This bill spends more than we have and needs to be stopped.