Oops. Senate makes $2 billion error
July 30th, 2014
03:57 PM ET
9 years ago

Oops. Senate makes $2 billion error

Washington (CNN) – Senators trying to mount a head-on battle with the House over highway funding may have doomed their own bill with a $2 billion mistake.

“We are working to address this technical error,” wrote Tara DiJulio, spokeswoman for Republican Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, who cosponsored the legislation along with two Democrats.

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The measure electrified the Senate on Tuesday, getting unexpected support from 25 Republicans. Many praised it for dropping a controversial funding measure called “pension smoothing.”

Big Mistake.

But, it turns out, the proposal was not fully paid for. The bill would cost some $7 billion, keeping the Highway Trust Fund operating through mid-December.

Lawmakers realized on Wednesday that it only pays for some $5 billion of that cost, leaving a $2 billion shortfall.

So now, senators are hoping for a technical fix, essentially to just change a few words.

The problem is, the Senate bill is already in the hands of the House. To fix it, the House would need to pass a concurrent resolution.

Massive advantage: House

Fixes like that are common in both chambers, including a roughly $11 billion correction to the House highway bill that the Senate allowed.

But, with the Highway Trust Fund due to start running out of money on Friday and Congress set to leave for August recess this week, the House does not seem interested in returning the favor.

The mistake is a massive advantage for the Republican-led House and perhaps game-ender for the Senate bill and its would-be Cinderella story.

Michael Steel, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, told CNN that at this point the House is not considering making any corrections to the bill passed by the Democratic-led Senate.

“The only responsible course is for the Senate to pass the original House-passed highway bill, which we will soon send back to them,” Steel wrote in a statement.

Key races to watch in 2014

Filed under: 2014 • Department of Transportation • Senate
soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. Sniffit

    Riiiight....said the GOP draftsman while winking like he's mid-seizure: "Oopsy, we accidentally handed this to the GOP/Teatroll controlled House in a form that will allow them to hold it hostage and make ransom demands."

    July 30, 2014 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  2. Sniffit

    "“The only responsible course is for the Senate to pass the original House-passed highway bill, which we will soon send back to them,” Steel wrote in a statement."

    Teatroll Rosetta Stone says: "No compromise, no cooperation and no good faith. The only thing we think everyone should be doing is exactly what we tell them to do."

    July 30, 2014 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  3. rs

    “The only responsible course is for the Senate to pass the original House-passed highway bill, which we will soon send back to them,” Steel wrote in a statement.
    Sure, never mind that typos and wording, grammatical and mathematical problems with bills have always been dealt with for just what they are- clerical errors which get fixed en route in the past. Nope, Boehner's dunces now want literalism applied to all bills as an excuse to vote them down- shutting down the Federal Highway Trust Fund. Because- what America doesn't need roads, right?
    The GOP- America's highway to the third world.

    July 30, 2014 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  4. Rudy NYC

    This is what happens when you are forced to rush to do things at the last minute. You make mistakes.

    Remember, the House procrastinated for months on a highway bill, and refused to sit down to have budget talks. Ted Cruz filibustered the Senate bill that would designate Senate representatives in a budget conference with the House's representatives.

    July 30, 2014 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  5. Chris..E.Al

    They all need to work together and get this passed along with the dems border debacle before they all go to
    fund raise and smoke big cigars and kiss babies on our dime .

    July 30, 2014 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  6. Thomas

    Thats what we spent in Iraq very day .

    July 30, 2014 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  7. Bigd

    This is the same GOP that is refusing funding to deport illegals

    July 30, 2014 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  8. Pandamonius

    Boehner already announced he had no intention of passing the senate bill. Even before this happened, he expressed his dislike for the senate bill and said that if it was sent to him, he'd strip it out and put the house bill in its place.

    So....breaking news...House plans to prevent legislation from getting passed.

    Actually, this time I kind of agree. The senate proposal is nothing more than a "kick the can down the road". They should keep their sorry rumps in session (both chambers) until they get a permanent solution.

    July 30, 2014 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |

    Democrats trying to sneak in something else. SO TYPICAL OF THEM.

    July 30, 2014 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |