Skip to comments.Hey big spenders: The highways bill shows Republicans addicted to spending
Posted on 08/10/2005 12:37:37 PM PDT by Crackingham
There was a time when Republicans raged against wasteful federal spending and fought tenaciously to cut the size of government. Not any longer. The $286.5bn (£160bn) highways bill President George W. Bush will sign into law today epitomises the transformation of the party in Washington from an anti-government "insurgency" into a ruling majority unable to kick its addiction to spending.
To give Mr Bush his credit, he fought a rearguard action against his spendthrift allies in Congress, with some effect. But he did not follow through his threat to veto any bill that breached a $283.9bn spending limit. This was itself a big increase on the spending limit of $256bn he put forward a year earlier. Budget analysts estimate the true cost of the new law, which conceals some likely spending, may be as much as $11bn over the relaxed spending limit.
The quality of spending is also poor. The highways bill contains more pork than the state of Iowa. Members of Congress have earmarked money for almost 6,500 local projects, costing $24bn. These include such gems as $220m for a bridge to connect an island with a population of 50 people to the Alaskan mainland, $8.5m for seven local transport museums and $4m for a parking facility in Oak Lawn, Illinois.
Mr Bush's failure to stand by his veto threat is partly explained by his need to win support for the crunch vote on the Central America Free Trade Agreement. But it is of a piece with his own poor record on spending. After spending during his first term at a rate second only to Lyndon Johnson, Mr Bush promised to be much tougher in the second. But he has still not vetoed a single spending bill.
The highways bill is not the only fiscally irresponsible measure to win the president's approval in recent days. The energy bill, signed into law on Monday, contained lavish tax breaks for an oil industry which, with crude at a record price of more than $64 a barrel, is hardly short of funds or incentives to invest. Taken together, the highways bill, energy bill and other measures signed into law this year will add nearly $33bn to the deficit - 10 per cent of the expected deficit for the current fiscal year.
Disappointing, but not suprising.
I'd prefer that road spending were entirely left to the states. There would be better decisions as funds were allocated based on popular need, and not pork.
Even so, as a small government type, I think roads are one of the few items I have little complaint about government spending.
Didn't like it when Clinton had that, wouldn't like if Clinton II did.
Bush's budget was lean this year.
Bush had 14 billion in cuts to medicare dems blocked it.
Bush is cutting bases to cut spending.
Bush reduced the highway bill by over 88 billion from where the dems wanted it.
There is no line item veto power to give the president a lot of power over spending.
If it wasn't for the dems you would have had massive cuts in social services spending this year but they blocked the cuts.
Bush has a tight budget, is cutting bases to cut spending and still gets blamed.
Republicans aren't the majority party they don't have 60 seats in the senate and can't do anything. And there are at least 8 major rino's in the republican party that always vote with dems on cutting social services.
Now that they have suceeded, they break almost every promise. But...oh...let's root for Jeb, he'll be different.
W is not now nor has he ever been a fiscal conservative
Darn but we need a Federal line item veto.
It would have cobwebs on it during the Bush presidency.
The guy loves to spend my money.
Republicans are committed to cutting spending.
Gop has no control over the senate.
Bush cut the highway bill 88 billion from where the dems wanted it.
48 republicans wanted cuts in medicare spending but were defeated by the dems and a handful of rino's.
The blame belongs with the rino's and the dems.
Bush's budget this year was lean. His tax cuts are working. The budget defecit is going to be over 100 billion less than last year.
Bush is cutting bases to cut spending and is taking a lot of heat for that.
Bush is going after nevada for not putting in money to the treasury from their land sales.
You would think in a year where bush submitted a tight budget which included major cuts in social service programs and is cutting excess military bases to cut spending and his tax cuts are cutting the defecit he would take credit for it. He has no line item veto power.
People that blame bush who had in his budget major cuts for social services that were blocked by the dems and rino's are putting their blame in the wrong direction. Do you think a dem president would have proposed 14 billion cuts in medicare this year.
His budget this year was fiscally conservative. He is cutting excess milatary bases that is fiscally conservative. He is going after Nevada for them to pay a portion of their land sales into the treasury.
Bush has no line item veto power. When the dems block spending cuts with the rino's he has no power. If the budget doesn't pass he can't sign it.
The defecit is shrinking quickly down a 100 billion from last year.
Bush is a fiscal conservative just look at his budget he gets blamed because the dems and rino's block his spending cuts.
Look at the budget the house passed this year compared to the senate. The house passed a lean budget. The dems and rino's in the senate block good work.
If you don't have 60 seats in the senate you might as well be the party in the minority because the dems and a handful of rino's block spending cuts and make the majority of republicans look bad when they are trying to cut spending and the dems and rino's are blocking them.
Bring on Nancy Pelosi that is the answer.
A clinton/pelosi govt of huge buerocracy national healthcare and more spending for social services is the answer.
It's ridiculous that President Bush had to bribe a bunch of Republicans to vote for CAFTA. It is also distressing that by doing so, President Bush has effectively admitted that CAFTA is going to eliminate jobs, to be replaced by those created through pork-barrel goverment-funded projects. I'm not sure that is a good trade. Free trade should sink or swim on its own merits.
I'm sorry, but Bush is just not the poster boy for reduced government spending.
Bush couldn't veto this, he promised this pork so he could get the votes for CAFTA, which he couldn't pass on merit.
I second that remark.
What would you like Bush to do not sign a bill to improve our roads. He cut 88 billion from the bill from where the dems wanted it. Bush has no line item veto power to use as leverage.
Bush's budget was first rate this year in fiscal conservatism. Bush is taking major heat for cutting the bases to cut spending.
The budget defecit this year is down over 100 billion from last year because of the tax cuts and spending cuts in the budget.
Bush is against a national health care plan that would be big spending and bush took a lot of heat for that in the campaign.
Bush has pushed through tax cuts, submits a tight budget with cuts in social services. Cuts military bases to save 50 billion in spending. The spending is so overrated the defecit has do with the economy. As the economy grows stronger defecit will go down quickly.
Defecit will go down as the economy improves.
The pork for cafta was a media myth.
The bill price was settled long before the cafta vote.
Our roads and bridges need fixed bad out here in Middle America. For years the east coast has gotten a lot more return on their federal gas tax, then those of us in states like Oklahoma. This time Oklahomans are getting their fair share and more to make up for all the years we helped fund road repairs in the NE.
I love this Transportation bill by Senator Inhofe who is no tax and spend person but our infrastructure for roads and bridges in Middle America on interstate highways is horrible and now we have to catch up for all those years that Clinton was in office that money we paid in went to the NE. At times Oklahomans got back less $.50 on the dollar we paid in federal gas tax while some NE states received well over a $1.00 back.
Certain items we need money and when you have neglected bridges and highways as long as this Country, then it is going to cost bigtime to catch up. The whiners obviously have not been driving roads out here with potholes fixed so many times that they become potholes again on the first rain.
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