The Return of the House Transportation (Poison Pill) Bill

Congress has returned from recess but the GOP leaders in the House aren't taking a break from bad ideas.

Rather than heed calls to pass the bi-partisan Senate bill that will create jobs by funding the needed fixing of our nation's roads, rails and bridges, Republicans in the House are resorting to legislative shenanigans in order to score political points and please Big Oil.

Once again, they are pushing to add a "poision pill" -- the controversial Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline -- to the House transportation legislation. They did this before, and trying to lard up their legislation with partisan measures is a big part what doomed their previous effort (H.R. 7) -- otherwise known as the worst transportation bill ever.

Now, House GOP leaders have a new ploy: Pass another 90-day transportation extension with language approving the Keystone pipeline. In doing so they hope to force a conference with the Senate and put Democrats on the spot following their myriad calls for passage of the Senate transportation bill (MAP-21). This cynical "bait and switch" to enact yet another temporary extension -- for the tenth time! -- could be voted on by the full House this Wednesday.

A few months ago, when the ill-fated House transportation bill sunk like the Titanic. What NRDC President Frances Beinecke said then still holds true this time around:

The Republican leadership has the temerity to call this horrible package a jobs bill, but it’s actually a measure that will make it impossible to pass a transportation bill – the one true jobs bill Congress could pass this year. Instead of going the bipartisan route taken by the Senate, House Republican leaders have larded up the bill with environmental protection rollbacks, extreme measures that mandate oil drilling just about everywhere, and a permit for the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. The American people need a transportation bill; this bill will prevent them from getting one."

The House should give up the gamesmanship (and also the ship!), and put Americans back to work by finally passing the popular Senate transportation bill, without any gimmicks or giveaways to Big Oil. Tell your representative to drop its poison pill bill and pass the Senate transportation bill.