House rejects further cuts to transportation spending bill

The spending bill, H.R. 5972, already cuts $3.9 billion from 2012 levels. But some Republicans argued that the House should go further to help reduce the deficit.

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Rep. Scott Garrett (R-N.J.), for example, proposed terminating a $150 million cut in funding to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, and called those funds an earmark for the Washington DC area. But his proposal was killed 160-243, a vote that split Republicans 156-76.

Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.) proposed a $114 million cut to the Essential Air Service, which he said is a wasteful subsidy to keep rural airports open even though they have few customers. This issue has split Republicans before, and it did again Tuesday night — the House killed his proposal 164-238, in a vote that split the GOP 154-77.

Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) proposed a $24.4 million cut to the Department of Housing and Urban Development's administrative account. This idea fared a little better, but was still defeated 179-224.

Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.) offered several proposals to fund various agencies in the bill at current levels, eliminating proposed increases in these programs in light of the government's fiscal crisis and expanding debt.

Three of his amendments together would have chopped $8.4 million in total from the Federal Railroad Administration, the Federal Transit Administration, and the Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. But all three were rejected with the help of GOP opposition.

In the end, the House accepted just two proposals to cut spending on Tuesday night, both from Broun. The first would cut the Transportation Department's Surface Transportation Board by $1.9 million, which was accepted in a voice vote.

The second would cut funding to the Maritime Guaranteed Loan Program by just $10,000, which the House also accepted by voice vote.

The House adjourned after roll call votes on amendments, shortly after 11:15 p.m. Other amendments disposed of Tuesday night were from:

• Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), to transfer $5 million from Financial Management Capital to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration - Operations and Research to combat distracted driving. Failed 175-222.

• Lois Capps (D-Calif.), to move $10 million from HUD Management and Administration to the Housing Counseling Assistance Program. Failed 184-218.

• Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), to prevent fund from being transferred from the Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization by the Secretary of Transportation. Accepted voice vote.

• Paul Broun (R-Ga.), to reduce funding for the Office of Civil Rights by $389,000 to the FY 2012 level and transfers the savings to the Spending Reduction Account. Withdrawn.

• Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), to provide $500 million for National Infrastructure Investments. Point of order raised.

• Hansen Clarke (D-Mich.), to move $10 million from FAA Operations to Formula and Bus Grants. Point of order raised.

• Bruce Braley (D-Iowa), to direct $10 million to school bus safety. Accepted voice vote.

• Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), to increase the Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS program by $2 million. Accepted voice vote.

— This story was updated at 12:34 p.m. to add information about the Nadler amendment.

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