Despite last week’s disappointing jobs report, which showed the largest drop in construction jobs in two years, House Republicans are threatening to walk away from a transportation infrastructure bill unless Democrats agree to approve construction of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline and limit the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to regulate coal ash:
House Republicans say they are willing to walk away from highway bill talks if they cannot get what they want on issues including approval of the Keystone XL pipeline and limiting the EPA regulation of coal ash, a move that clouds prospects for completing legislation before the June 30 deadline.
“If we can’t get serious about finding common ground, the bill will fail,” said Pennsylvania Republican Bill Shuster, a House Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittee chairman and a deputy whip.
The Senate passed a bipartisan transportation bill by a 74-22 vote, but House Republicans have been unable to corral enough votes to pass their own legislation, instead opting for short-term extensions of transportation funding. And this is not the first time that House Republicans, led by Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH), have threatened to use the bill to force approval of the pipeline.
Back in March, Republicans threatened to shut down transportation funding, which would have meant at least the temporary loss of 1.9 million jobs. Meanwhile, the GOP claim that the pipeline is a key driver of job creation is largely a myth.