Senate Republicans block transportation jobs plan

U.S. Senate Republicans Nov. 3 blocked a $60 billion White House proposal to repair transportation systems as part of President Obama’s American Jobs Act.

All 47 Senate Republicans, one Democrat and one independent voted against the bill that addressed construction workers and was part of Obama’s $447 billion stimulus plan. The plan needed 60 votes to advance.

The bill, co-sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, would have spent $50 billion to upgrade roads, bridges, rail lines, transit systems and airports, and also would have allocated $10 billion in loan funding to underwrite an infrastructure bank to help pay for priority projects.

After the vote on the Obama measure, Senate Democrats voted down a Republican infrastructure plan that would have extended funding for highways and prohibited federal environmental regulators from placing new rules on cement producers and domestic boilers.

The day before the votes, Obama had delivered remarks in front of Washington, D.C.’s Key Bridge urging Congress to pass the transportation piece of the American Jobs Act. “Together, these initiatives would put hundreds of thousands of construction workers back on the job rebuilding roads, rails and runways,” Obama said. “Construction workers have been among the Americans hit hardest over the past few years. That makes no sense when there’s so much of America that needs rebuilding.”