Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
September 30, 2014

Posts in "Budget"

September 23, 2014

Manufacturers Say Bigger Infrastructure Investment Would Boost Incomes

168153183 1 445x296 Manufacturers Say Bigger Infrastructure Investment Would Boost Incomes

The giant drill nicknamed “Harriet” bores a section of the Port of Miami tunnel last year. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

The National Association of Manufacturers renewed its call Tuesday for more infrastructure spending, issuing a report saying that “infrastructure spending has been on a decade-long decline” and that “when measured in proportion to GDP, the downward trajectory of infrastructure investment becomes even more stark and worrisome.”

Full story

September 18, 2014

House Unanimously Votes To Cut TSA Security Fees

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Rep. Richard Hudson, R-N.C., sponsored the fee rollback legislation (Photo By Douglas Graham/Roll Call)

Travel industry leaders are applauding a unanimous House vote Wednesday to roll back Transportation Security Administration fees.

The 2013 budget accord had increased the security-related fees to $5.60 per one-way trip. Previously, the fee had been $2.50 per enplanement (boarding a flight) with a cap of $10.

Full story

By Tom Curry Posted at 10:12 a.m.
Aviation, Budget, Travel

September 17, 2014

Earmark Nostalgia Still Strong Among Some Members

capuano002 041608 1 445x298 Earmark Nostalgia Still Strong Among Some Members

Rep. Michael Capuano, D-Mass.

Nostalgia for earmarks — voiced in May by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and in July by Reps. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., and Tom Cole, R-Okla. — was heard again Wednesday at a House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee press conference.

Regretting the ban, which House Republican leaders imposed on appropriations earmarks in 2011, Rep. John J. Duncan Jr., R-Tenn., said, “That was one of the biggest mistakes that we ever made. We didn’t save any money; we just put more power in the bureaucracy.”

Full story

July 22, 2014

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

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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.

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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

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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.

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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

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