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Federal Transportation Bill

Two Infrastructure Jobs Bills Die in Senate

11:59 AM EDT on November 4, 2011

Two competing versions of a transportation-related job creation bill went down yesterday in the Senate. The first, the Rebuild America Jobs Act (S.1769), was a Democratic proposal, modeled on President Obama's job creation bill, to invest $50 billion for infrastructure and another $10 billion as seed money to create a new national infrastructure bank.

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Given Republican opposition to what they consider a repeat of a failed stimulus -- and to an infrastructure bank they say is unnecessary at best and politicized at worst -- the failure of the bill is no surprise. The bill garnered a slim majority -- 51-49 -- but not enough to overcome the threat of a GOP filibuster.

Meanwhile, the Republican proposal would have pushed back many health, safety, and environmental regulations that corporations consider onerous. Defeated in a 47-53 vote, the bill also would have extended SAFETEA-LU for two more years -- nearly matching the length and spending levels in the bipartisan EPW proposal -- without funding the shortfall such spending would cause to the Highway Trust Fund. The bill wouldn't have been a "clean" extension of current law, though, since it eliminated the "set-aside" for bike and pedestrian infrastructure, making it the fourth attempt in less than two months by Senate Republicans to eliminate or weaken TE -- and the fourth failure.

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