Thursday, March 3, 2011

Sessions ‘flabbergasted’ by increase
in Obama transportation budget

From Erik Wasson of The Hill on March 3:
Senate Budget Committee ranking member Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) took Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood to task Thursday for the Obama administration’s call for a massive increase in transportation spending.

Given the record deficit this year, Sessions said he was surprised to see Obama’s 2012 budget call for an 11 percent spending increase and a 9.5 percent increase for the Education and Energy departments, respectively.

But, he said, “I was flabbergasted to see Transportation wants 62 percent increase in spending.”

Sessions noted, ahead of LaHood’s testimony on the request, that the Obama budget calls for an unspecified new tax to raise $435 billion to pay for the new six-year, $556-billion infrastructure build-out.

“I just have to say that is unrealistic,” Sessions said. “If you can’t tell us what kind of tax this is, I think there is zero chance of us passing such a tax as this.

“This is another huge gimmick in the budget,” Sessions said later. “This kind of Washington logic has put us in the financial crisis we are in. We cannot continue it. We cannot continue to authorize spending based on a tax that is not going to be collected, probably.”

Sessions asked for suggestions for the tax, and LaHood did not offer any.


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