Government Spending: Transportation, Housing and Urban Development appropriations Goes THUD!

US Senate reports the tragic loss of 1 gavel, two leather Senate seats, the US Budget, and their minds!

The Federal Government was shut down, due to the Republican opposition to Obama Care. That, rightfully, has gotten a lot of press.  Meanwhile, the rest of the Federal budget has been largely ignored.

Transportation spending is appropriated through the Transportation and Housing and Urban Development appropriations bill.  What you should know about the bill that did not pass is it had no funding for TIGER Grants (which have funded additional infrastructure projects across the US) or Core Capacity Grants (for updating and adding public transit development), slashed funding to the FAA’s air traffic control modernization program, and a cut in Amtrak’s capital program by 37 percent.

The Senate THUD bill allocated $54 billion, which fell between last year’s budget and President Obama’s proposed budget but $10 billion above the house THUD bill.

Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Numbers

2013 enacted 

2014 President’s budget 

House Sequester level 

House THUD current  


Senate THUD

Current Allocation

$51.8 Billion

$58 billion

$48.5 billion

$44.1 billion

$54 billion

The THUD appropriations bill had enough supporters (historically, this bill is not fought over), but shortly before the vote, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) pressed the half dozen republican senators who supported the bill to retract their support.  The vote had a 54-43 roll call — six short of the 60 votes needed to invoke cloture.

Senator McConnell and others rejected the $54 billion THUD bill, saying if they had allowed the THUD bill to pass, the headlines “would have been Congress on a bipartisan basis walks away from the Budget Control Act.”

You are well aware of the fight over health care.  But our nation’s fiscal issues carry far beyond this one part of the government.

Americans have been angry enough to respond to polls (this is the first stage of political dissent when a citizen is only angry enough to punch buttons really, really hard on their phone during a robo-call survey in hopes someone gets the message).  Or perhaps it is people being disaffected enough to do little more than respond to polls. 
As a result,  NPR reported that “63 percent of respondents — and 51 percent of Republicans — said Congress should provide the funding necessary to keep the government open.”

Better World Club President Mitch Rofsky worked in Washington D.C. during a different time. “When I was there, Senator Ted Kennedy (MA-D) and the ranking minority member of his committee, say, Senator Orrin Hatch (UT-R) would meet privately and work out a compromise.  Today, Hatch is afraid that he’ll face a primary challenge if he’s seen talking to a Democrat.  (Senators Wallace Bennett (UT-R) and Richard Lugar (IN-R) were defeated in Republican primaries by Tea Party challengers.) The Federal Government was not designed for this kind of polarization.”

Maybe it is time you responded to some more polls - after you find a way to let your Senator and Representative know how you feel.

Kicking Asphalt

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