Senior Democrat Pushes Back on House Rule Change

Senior Democrat Pushes Back on House Rule Change

Democrats are wasting no time punching back after the House adopted new rules on Wednesday that allow lawmakers to control transportation appropriations year-by-year. Transportation industry leaders say the change is a threat to future federal spending.

"As their very first act in the majority, I find it incredible that Republicans would want to pursue a job-killing proposal like this," said Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., ranking Democrat on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. The rule change "not only threatens jobs but could also lead to dramatic reductions in spending for very necessary and worthy highway projects throughout the nation."

Since 1998 expenditures from the Highway Trust Fund have been guided by priorities established in multi-year spending plans. Industry leaders say the system allowed states to plan long-term infrastructure projects.

"The new Republican majority breaks the 'trust' of the Highway Trust Fund," Rahall said. "It is a sad day for transportation. The Republican rules create uncertainty in an industry that cannot afford it."

Rahall said that now Republicans can withhold trust fund money to mask the size of the budget deficit.

-- Contact R.G. Edmonson at bedmonson@joc.com.