"A wise and frugal government which shall restrain men
from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government."
(Thomas Jefferson)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Sen Jim Inhofe (R-OK) Trying to Find Support for Highway Funding from Tea Party Lawmakers

My recommendation is that every Tea Party lawmaker drive I-40 from the AR line to OKC and then tell all of us how important it is to keep the Keystone Pipeline Funding in the Transportation bill when it is an add-on.  When are lawmakers going to stop this nonsense of putting extras on funding bills.  Anyone with a brain knows this is a non-starter in the Senate.  We are 49th in road and bridge repair in OK -- frankly I almost have quit driving I-40 and going under overpasses for fear that concrete will drop off the bridge which has happened in the past.  Finally they are fixing I-35 in the Norman area so a chunk of concrete cannot fall down again.

Do these people not understand the longer you allow infrastructure to deteriorate the more it is going to cost.  Maybe it is time to have toll roads who self fund the fixes like we have seen with our Oklahoma turnpikes and then the driver's can blame Congress for the toll roads.

The Senate wants to fund near the same level they have been funding the transportation bill which seems like a good idea.  The one thing that is a federal obligation with the federal highway system is road and bridges and yet some Tea Party Members of the House don't believe it should be funded at near current levels?  They are also pushing for Keystone which is an add on to the budget.  Without it, they plan on voting against the transportation bill in many cases.  Has anyone ever heard of doing the right thing for the America people as poor roads and bridges are a safety hazard which could cost lives.

Senator Inhofe is a huge supporter of the Keystone Pipeline and believes it will eventually be approved so why is it necessary in this environment for the House to attach it to the transportation bill?  I am tired of the games being played on both sides.  Members of Congress are sent to represent all the people not just their big donors or special interest groups. Then you read this out of the House:
But many conservatives do have a problem with it and have opposed using general fund money. House Republicans authored a highway bill that would have cut spending on roads and bridges by 34 percent — meaning a loss of $800 million to Oklahoma over six years. Gary Ridley, Oklahoma's transportation director, said a cut of that magnitude would jeopardize critical highway projects in the state — and lives.
One of the items the federal government is responsible for (roads and bridges) they want to cut by 34% but these same House members wants to waste my tax dollars on their pet causes.  Republicans in the House have also become like their counterparts when President Bush was in office -- investigation happy.  There are way too many investigations going on that never end wasting our tax dollars.  There is so much can be cut from the Federal Budget and the House wants to concentrate cutting on roads and bridges?  Very foolish and makes me wonder where some of them got their idea of what it means to represent a whole district and a state because they seem to only want to please the special interest groups that elected them.

Why would want them reelected if they are not independent of lobbyists, special interests groups, and their big donors?  Both sides act like little kids that if they don't get their way, they are going to take the ball and go home.  Democrats were horrible during the Bush years, and now I am seeing the same thing out of Republicans.  They need to grow up and put America first.
Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe trying to persuade Tea Party lawmakers to support highway funding   
Conservative Republican Jim Inhofe is a lead negotiator on a highway bill that has some funding problems and a provision that would approve the Keystone XL pipeline 
By Chris Casteel | Published: May 27, 2012

— With another deadline fast approaching, Republican Sen. Jim Inhofe is working to persuade members of his party that they should support a highway bill that keeps road and bridge funding close to current levels. 
“With this attitude out there, where so many members of the Senate and the House have this fear of the Tea Party people, they're scared to death to vote for anything that has a bunch of zeros in it,” Inhofe said in an interview.
Inhofe, of Tulsa, spent part of last week calling freshman House members — “all Tea Party,” he said — and trying to convince them that it would be the “conservative position” to support legislation that would stabilize transportation funding for two or three years.
If Congress can't come together on a long-term policy, he said, the uncertainty will continue to cause serious problems for critical projects. Moreover, he said, the bill now under consideration would change some provisions of federal highway policy — such as spending road and bridge money on roadside attractions — that have long rankled conservatives.
At the end of the week, Inhofe felt like he was getting through to them. 
“I don't want to say that each one of them is going to support it, because we don't even know what (the bill) is going to look like yet, but they're all anxious to have a bill and to pass it,” he said. 
Rep. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma City, is among the freshman lawmakers trying to negotiate a highway bill that could pass the House and Senate. And he's the type of conservative that Inhofe is trying to win over. 
“Transportation has a unique federal role,'' Lankford said, “but with billions of dollars of government waste, we must find a way to pay for the essential areas of government by making cuts to non-essential programs.” 
Windfall for Oklahoma
Inhofe is the top Republican on the Senate committee that has jurisdiction over the highway bill. He was chairman of that panel when the last long-term highway bill passed in 2005 — legislation that included thousands of earmarks and a huge funding windfall for Oklahoma.
That bill expired in 2009, and Congress has procrastinated since, granting only temporary extensions that have frustrated state highway officials. The latest extension ends on June 30. House and Senate negotiators are hoping to beat that deadline with a bill, rather than another short-term fix. 
Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-CA, the lead Senate negotiator, told reporters last week that lawmakers were “making good progress.” 
“I would say great progress,” she said, adding that 80 percent of the bill was non-controversial.
Inhofe said Boxer was “overly enthusiastic and overly optimistic, and I tell her that to her face and to other people because I want people to know the truth about this — it's not all that easy.” 
One of the main sticking points is how to pay for the bill; one of the others is the Keystone XL pipeline
Funding and Keystone
The Highway Trust Fund, which holds the proceeds from the federal gas tax, is the primary source of money for U.S. road and bridge construction. But money flowing into the fund has been declining while construction costs have been rising, and Congress has had to dip into the funds that pay for domestic programs and defense to make up the difference. 
Inhofe has no problem with that. He is a fiscal conservative, he often says, except when it comes to defense and infrastructure. 
Excerpt:  Read more: http://newsok.com/oklahoma-sen.-jim-inhofe-trying-to-persuade-tea-party-lawmakers-to-support-highway-funding/article/3678926#ixzz1wIJCOZzn

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