Congress passed yet another short-term spending bill a week ago but only after a three-day government shutdown. The bill funds the federal government through February 8th.
That leaves lawmakers just 11 days to develop a spending plan for the fiscal year that began last October. Immigration issues, including the status of DACA children, are at the core of the impasse.
17th District Congresswoman Cheri Bustos questions why the passage of an entire year’s budget is held up by such a partisan issue. “What this has led to are those short-term spending bills that have been devastating to our military. When you’re operating from a one month budget to the next month budget as opposed to having a full year’s worth of funding or better yet, I’d be in favor of a two-year budget so we can add some kind of certainty to all of the federal agencies.”
And in federal transportation issues:
It’s expected President Donald Trump’s infrastructure proposal will call for the federal government to provide 20 percent of the funding. That is a reversal of the traditional 80 percent federal / 20 percent local split for most transportation projects. The proposal will call for the federal government to spend $200 billion dollars over a ten-year period. The remainder will be leveraged from both local governments and the private sector. There is no indication yet as to the funding sources for the federal dollars.
Congresswoman Bustos says infrastructure funding should be a bipartisan issue because both parties want it. “Republicans do and Democrats do. Now of course where we’ve got to work out the details is how are we going to pay for it. And that’s where there are a lot of differences. But we all know we need and we all want a robust transportation package.”
One possible funding source is the federal gas tax which hasn’t been raised since 1994. Ultra-conservatives don’t want the tax hike while liberals point to the 25-years since the tax was raised as reason enough to increase it. Bustos is a member of the house transportation committee.