Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
July 28, 2014

Posts in "Budget"

July 22, 2014

House to Vote on Tourism Promotion Effort — With Deficit Reduction Bonus

452399014 445x296 House to Vote on Tourism Promotion Effort    With Deficit Reduction Bonus

Tourists look at a map outside the U.S. Botanic Garden in Washington on July 19. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)

The next time you overhear French tourists visiting your city or town, don’t forget to say “Merci beaucoup”  to them for doing their part in deficit reduction.

On Tuesday the House will vote on a bill that in effect taxes certain visitors to the United States to pay for a marketing effort to encourage other foreigners to come visit. The Congressional Budget Office says the bill will reduce cumulative deficits over 10 years by $231 million, since the revenues would exceed the money to be spent on marketing.

Full story

July 18, 2014

‘Pension Smoothing,’ the Highway Trust Fund’s Temporary Friend

The 10-month Highway Trust Fund bill that the House passed last week is hardly the first piece of legislation that features a mishmash of pay-for provisions intended to keep it from increasing the deficit. This time around, one of the primary revenue-raisers ($6.4 billion worth) is a “pension smoothing” provision.

Never heard of that accounting maneuver? CQ Roll Call’s Emma Dumain and David Harrison explain it this way: Full story

July 16, 2014

Republicans Blame Obama for Blocking Multi-Year Transportation Bill in 2009 (Video)

House Republicans reached back to recent history yesterday to rebut Democratic critics who blame them for not working on a multi-year transportation authorization bill.

Why, they demanded, did President Barack Obama not push for a multi-year transportation bill at height of his power in 2009 when his party controlled both branches of Congress?

Full story

July 15, 2014

An Earmark Revival? ‘Suggestion’ Earns Bipartisan Praise

gop meeting006 061814 445x295 An Earmark Revival? Suggestion Earns Bipartisan Praise

Cole. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The House Rules Committee – where the majority party always wins and the votes always split along party lines – was the setting Monday evening for a momentary bipartisan call to bring back earmarks as a way to lubricate passage of transportation bills.

Earmarks – money in authorization or appropriations bills that was targeted to benefit a specific congressional district or a particular project – were banned by the House in 2011.

Full story

July 14, 2014

Heritage Action ‘Key Votes’ the House’s Highway Trust Fund Vote

As the House Rules Committee was about to take up a bill Monday to replenish the Highway Trust fund, the conservative advocacy group Heritage Action made this week’s floor vote on the bill a “key vote” for its scorecard. This sets the stage for an election-year litmus test for Republican lawmakers.

Full story

A Crowded Week Ahead for Transportation Advocates and Policymakers

The nation’s capital will be busy with transportation events this week:

On Monday, the Energy Department’s Energy Information Agency starts its annual conference. Among the speakers will be the head of a company controversially involved in rail shipments of Bakken crude oil from North Dakota, Global Partners president and CEO Eric Slifka.

Full story

July 11, 2014

Domestic Oil Boom Helps U.S. Shipyards Rebound

The oil boom that has sparked controversy over rail shipments of Bakken crude from North Dakota has also been a boon for U.S. shipyards.

This week we interviewed Matthew Paxton, the president of the Shipbuilders Council of America, on the health of the U.S. shipbuilding industry. His organization represents small shipyards that build fishing vessels as well as large companies such as Huntington Ingalls and General Dynamics which turn out aircraft carriers and submarines.

Full story

July 10, 2014

Some Light at End of Highway Funding Tunnel as Committees OK Similar Revenue Bills

The tax-writing committees in both the House and the Senate on Thursday approved bills to raise revenue to replenish the Highway Trust Fund.

The committees’ votes put Congress closer to preventing a slowdown in federal money to states, which are now in the middle of road-building season.

Full story

July 3, 2014

Battle Over Ex-Im Bank and Airline Competition Will Rage Once Congress Returns

There’ll be an intense effort this month to find the revenue to sustain the faltering Highway Trust Fund. But perhaps the most heated transportation fight in July will come on an entirely different issue – reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank.

Full story

Jobs at Stake as Amtrak Looks to Buy 28 New Trains for Acela Express

Amtrak is shopping for new trains for its Acela Express. It remains to be seen whether they will be built in the United States.

On Wednesday Amtrak announced that it had issued Request for Proposals (RFP) asking train manufacturers to submit bids by Oct. 1 for up to 28 high-speed trainsets which could meet or exceed current Acela trip-times on the Boston-to-Washington corridor.

Full story

By Tom Curry Posted at 1:47 p.m.
Budget, Rail

July 1, 2014

Foxx Rebuts Idea That Obama Is Leading From Behind on Infrastructure Taxes

“Go Team USA — Let’s build some bridges!” President Barack Obama told a crowd at the Key Bridge in Washington on Tuesday afternoon as he urged Congress to pass a bill to refill the Highway Trust Fund.

If Congress can’t figure out a way to raise the revenue for building infrastructure, it will be “like Congress threatening to lay off the entire population of Denver or Seattle or Boston” due to the construction jobs that will be at risk, Obama told the crowd.

The president explained that under his administration’s $302 billion, four-year Grow America Act proposal, “We pay for it in part by closing tax loopholes for companies that are shipping their profits overseas to avoid paying their fair share of taxes.”

Earlier Tuesday reporters pressed Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx on why he and Obama haven’t called for an increase in the 18.4-cent-per-gallon tax on gasoline.

Full story

June 27, 2014

California High-Speed Rail Project Takes a Step Forward (on Paper, at Least)

The Federal Railroad Administration says it has issued a Record of Decision for the 114-mile Fresno to Bakersfield section of California’s High-Speed Train System.

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx called the decision “a major step forward, both for the State of California and for High Performance rail in the U.S.”

Full story

By Tom Curry Posted at 5:29 p.m.
Budget, Environment, Rail

June 25, 2014

NextGen Needs a Power-Up, Senators Say

cantwell 041 0601014 445x318 NextGen Needs a Power Up, Senators Say

Cantwell. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senators voiced frustration Wednesday that the Federal Aviation Administration is implementing the NextGen air traffic control modernization too slowly.

Sen. Maria Cantwell, chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee’s Aviation Subcommittee, stressed at a hearing that NextGen has great potential — saving 1.6 billion gallons of fuel by 2020. But she said the FAA isn’t getting the job done quickly enough.

Full story

June 24, 2014

Ron Wyden Proposes Tax Law Changes to Temporarily Sustain Highway Trust Fund

wyden021 010714 445x296 Ron Wyden Proposes Tax Law Changes to Temporarily Sustain Highway Trust Fund

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

With the clock ticking down to a cash flow crisis in the Highway Trust Fund this summer, Senate Finance Committee chairman Sen. Ron Wyden offered a $9 billion remedy Tuesday that would sustain the fund through the end of December. Wyden’s committee will mark up his bill Thursday.

Full story

June 20, 2014

Amtrak Battle Flares Again This Year

This year’s installment of the perennial congressional fight over where Amtrak makes money, how it spends it, and how much taxpayer money it uses, if any, still has not been settled.

Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., and Rep. Paul Broun, R–Ga., personify the opposing ideological sides of the long-running battle which since 1970 has seen taxpayers subsidize the rail network to the tune of $45 billion, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Full story

By Tom Curry Posted at 4:20 p.m.
Budget, Rail

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