House leaders announced today that they will break their dismal transportation bill, H.R. 7, into pieces for consideration by the full House – effectively admitting they don’t have enough votes to pass it this week as planned.
Key words here: “this week.” Speaker Boehner has parked the steamroller, but is now aiming to use a hammer and chisel to chip away at the broad opposition that mobilized in the past two weeks. Segmenting the bill will make it easier to round up a majority on each chunk, allowing the full bill to be reunited later.
Votes on the energy portions of the bill – including oil drilling on California’s coast and shale oil exploration – are expected today. The main bill, still containing huge policy flaws, will be delayed until after the President’s Day recess next week.
California’s largest newspapers have nearly unanimously sounded off against H.R. 7. The latest opinion, from the San Francisco Chronicle, echoes previous commentary from the Los Angeles Times and the Sacramento Bee.
Thank you to everyone who called or wrote your Congressperson in opposition to H.R. 7 – your voices have been heard! But we can’t let up now.
House members need to hear that a piecemeal H.R. 7 is JUST as bad as the whole pie. We need to hang on to every no vote in order to ensure that the “divide and delay” tactics don’t succeed.
Take advantage of next week’s recess and request a meeting with your representative and keep the pressure on. Continued phone calls, letters, and media outreach are also needed, particularly in swing districts like Rep. Mike Thompson, Rep. Jim Costa, Rep. Mary Bono Mack, and Rep. Brian Bilbray.
H.R. 7 could still end up in conference committee with Senator Boxer’s MAP-21, which is currently being considered by the full Senate. More on that here.
In the meantime, take a moment to appreciate what we’ve accomplished by forcing the House leadership to delay this bill. Then, pick up the phone and call your Congressperson – AGAIN!