- Apr 12, 2008
- Reaction score
- real world
The House, defying a White House veto threat, passed GOP legislation Wednesday that extends transportation program funding through September and mandates construction of a controversial oil pipeline from Canada to Gulf Coast refineries.
All but 14 Republicans, with support from 69 Democrats, voted 293-127 for legislation that falls far short of Speaker John Boehner's (R-Ohio) earlier plan to move a sweeping five-year, $260 billion package.
But Boehner's retreat serves two crucial tactical and political purposes for the Speaker. It enables talks with the Senate on the highway bill and keeps the Keystone pipeline — which is at the heart of GOP attacks on White House energy policy — front and center as the election looms.
Republican leaders hailed the bipartisan vote as a rebuke of President Obama after his veto threat.
"The House is on record again in support of the Keystone XL energy pipeline — a project President Obama blocked, personally lobbied against, then tried to take credit for, and now says he'll veto," Boehner said in a statement. "There's no telling where the president stands from one day to the next on Keystone, but he knows the pipeline has broad and bipartisan support in Congress and among the American people."
The House and Senate Transportation committee chairmen said they hoped conferees would be appointed quickly.
"The purpose of this extension is that we can hopefully bring about resolution and conference legislation to complete our transportation bill," Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.), the chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said Wednesday.
A number of key Democrats also said they were supporting the plan as a way to get to a House-Senate conference.
"It appears that the House has finally found the path out of dysfunction junction," said Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), who is a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. "We've been there too long."