DeFazio amendment out: T4A reports that the DeFazio amendment was “required to be withdrawn” for parliamentary reasons. No real word on what those reasons were, but apparently the Rules Committee heard your voices loud and clear.
Nadler our best hope: Jerry Nadler’s amendment would add $3 billion of transit capital assistance to the House bill. Rep. David Obey, Chair of the Appropriations Committee, could include it in something called a “manager’s amendment”, which would almost surely guarantee it will pass. Obey and Speaker Nancy Pelosi will decide that.
Today, please call Pelosi’s office (202-225-4965) and Obey’s office (202-225-3365), and ask them to bring Nadler’s amendment to the floor. T4A says, “You can mention that our country’s transit systems are crucial for keeping the economy moving. At a time when ridership is spiking, and when millions of people rely on these systems to get to work each day, we need to make sure that the economic recovery package will invest money in the kind of transportation that can help us meet our presssing national goals for reducing emissions and oil dependence.”
Senate bill is worse: Details of the Senate version of the stimulus are dribbling out. Transit gets a little less than in the House, but about the same percentage compared to highways. Senate Appropriations will be marking up the bill today
The biggest difference is $5.5 billion in multi-modal “competitive grants” that the Secretary of Transportation can award to state and local governments “for projects that will have a significant impact on the Nation, a metropolitan area, or a region.” Projects have to be able to finish within three years.
Most of the stimulus would get spent soon: Remember the controversial CBO report saying much of the stimulus wouldn’t get spent until 2011? Turns out that’s mostly wrong. The new CBO report is out today, and concludes that two-thirds will get spent within 18 months. As Yglesias says, 100% would be better. For any money that won’t start in 2009, there’s time to debate its proper spending more carefully.
Republicans leaning no: Many Congressional Republicans, including House Minority Leader John Boehner and Senator John McCain, are claiming they will vote against the stimulus as it is today, wanting more tax cuts instead.
Call Pelosi (202-225-4965) and Obey (202-225-3365) today!