Following up on a report from last month, the House Republicans’ transportation bill, generally considered one of Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) top priorities, has turned into something of a fiasco.
Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, a former Republican congressman, called it “the worst transportation bill I’ve ever seen during 35 years of public service.” A New York Times editorial called the bill “uniquely terrible.” The legislation was reviled by nearly everyone, including House Republicans themselves, though various contingents hated it for different reasons.
Today, Boehner’s bill died an unceremonious death.
Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Thursday the House plans to take up the Senate’s highway bill once it clears the upper chamber, conceding that his own last-ditch effort to save a House GOP measure had not succeeded.
“As I told the members yesterday, the current plan is to see what the Senate can produce and to bring their bill up,” Boehner told reporters at his weekly news conference Thursday.
By “current plan,” the Speaker means “the plan that was thrown together when I realized no one would vote for my bill.”
The larger issue, though, is that the House Republican leader doesn’t seem to be leading much anymore. Boehner’s caucus is splintering badly over the budget; the GOP leadership doesn’t want to bring up a House version of the Blunt Amendment though rank-and-file members don’t care what the leadership prefers; and now the Speaker’s transportation bill has been scrapped.
And this doesn’t even include the behind-the-scenes, intra-party feuds.
For those of us inclined to believe the Speaker just isn’t good at his job, there’s no shortage of evidence to bolster the thesis.