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John Boehner delays unpopular GOP transportation bill

The worst bill that Ray LaHood has ever seen is delayed for another week.

Boehner 2011 12 16Enlarge
US Speaker of the House Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) (C) speaks as Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) (L) and House Majority Whip Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) listen following a Republican Conference meeting on Capitol Hill on Dec. 16, 2011. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

House Speaker John Boehner delayed action on an unpopular GOP transportation bill, the Associated Press reported. Republicans had hoped to pass the five year, $260 billion bill this week, but Boehner said that action would be delayed until after next week's congressional recess.

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The AP found that "there are so many Republicans who object to some portion of the 1,000-page bill that it can’t pass in its present form."

Some of the most vocal objections to the bill have been raised by Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “This is the most partisan transportation bill that I have ever seen,” LaHood told Politico. “It’s the worst transportation bill I’ve ever seen during 35 years of public service.”

And The New York Times editorial board described the bill as "uniquely terrible."

Among The Times' criticisms was that the bill would dramatically cut funding for mass transit. It would also put funding for pedestrian infrastructure and bicycle facilities in jeopardy. At the same time, the bill would open almost all of America's coastal waters to oil and gas drilling, The Times said.

Under current law, 20 percent of money from the highway trust fund goes to mass transit, but the House of Representatives' proposed transportation overhaul would have ended that agreement. 

President Barack Obama has threatened to veto the House transportation bill if it passes, Reuters reported. The White House is instead backing a Senate version of the transportation bill, The Hill reported, which would cost $109 billion. 

“The people who depend on public transportation have voiced their opinions on this matter and are making an impact," San Francisco's MTA director told the San Francisco Examiner

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/120216/john-boehner-delays-unpopular-gop-transportation-bill