Republican Measures May Impede Infrastructure Legislation

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Two Republican measures could impede infrastructure funding. On their first day of work, members of the 112th Congress adopted rules of order including a repeal of a 1998 provision that allowed lawmakers to block legislation that failed to appropriate transportation funds at the level set forth in authorization legislation. Republicans argue that the new rule simply prohibits transportation spending above authorized levels, but groups including the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce contend that the rule could harm transportation funding.

The Republican ban on earmarks also may obstruct infrastructure legislation. The Council on Federal Procurement of Architectural and Engineering Services, of which NSPE is a founding member, sent a letter to congressional leaders urging them to distinguish earmarks from legitimate project authorizations. Failure to do so could result in Congress's inability to enact infrastructure legislation that is sorely needed to advance American commerce, job creation, and quality of life.