Senate lawmakers made a mistake on a piece of critical legislation.
No, it’s not about Obamacare. “The Senate-passed highway bill contains a critical error, and is not fully offset through December 19,” Michael Steel, spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio), wrote in an email to reporters Wednesday afternoon. “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’s announcement accompanied a report on a funding error made when the Senate amended the House’s transportation funding bill.
“The Senate-passed version of the Highway Trust Fund bailout legislation (H.R. 5021) falls nearly $2 billion short of fully reimbursing the general fund of the Treasury for the $7.1 billion GF to HTF transfer contained in the bill, the Congressional Budget Office informed told Capitol Hill sources yesterday and today,” Transportation Weekly reported.
The Senate amendment was authored by senators Barbara Boxer (D., Calif.), Tom Carper (D., Del.,), and Bob Corker (R., Tenn.).
“Our amendment was intended to be a mirror image of the Senate Finance Committee bill with the elimination of pension smoothing and a change to the date of authorization, and we are working to address this technical error just as we worked with the House to fix the drafting error in their legislation before it came to the Senate,” Corker spokeswoman Tara Julio told the Hill.
“You can’t just change the date and take out the pay for and assume that the money all works out, and so, they screwed it up, bottom line,” a Senate Republican aide told National Review Online. “Because the Senate has egg on their face and no time in trying to get out of here, the feeling around the Senate is that the Senate will just pass the House version.”
The aide attributed that likelihood to Senate leadership’s decision to hold the bill to the last week.
“It’s Democratic leadership who always waits to the last minute to do anything, that way nobody can change anything,” the aide said. “It’s all a product of the fact that they waited to the very last minute to do a bill that they knew needed to get passed months ago.”
Liberals have been eager to say they made a drafting error on another bill — the Affordable Care Act — when they passed legislation that failed to provide subsidies to people who purchase insurance on federal exchanges.