What: All Issues : Making Government Work for Everyone, Not Just the Rich or Powerful : Infrastructure Funding : (H.R. 662) On a motion that would have rescinded all funding for the planning, design, or construction of the Gravina Island Bridge and the Knik Arm Bridge in Alaska. This motion was offered to legislation extending transportation programs (such as highway safety initiatives, grants for anti-drunk driving measures, and public transportation programs) that were set to expire on March 4, 2011. (2011 house Roll Call 159)
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(H.R. 662) On a motion that would have rescinded all funding for the planning, design, or construction of the Gravina Island Bridge and the Knik Arm Bridge in Alaska. This motion was offered to legislation extending transportation programs (such as highway safety initiatives, grants for anti-drunk driving measures, and public transportation programs) that were set to expire on March 4, 2011.
house Roll Call 159     Mar 02, 2011
Progressive Position:
Yea
Progressive Result:
Loss

This was a vote on a motion to recommit that would have rescinded all funding for the planning, design, or construction of the Gravina Island Bridge and the Knik Arm Bridge in Alaska. A motion to recommit with instructions is the minority's opportunity to torpedo or significantly change a bill before a final up-or-down vote on the measure. This motion was offered to legislation extending transportation programs (such as highway safety initiatives, grants for anti-drunk driving measures, and public transportation programs) that were set to expire on March 4, 2011.

Although funding intended for these bridge projects were eliminated in 2006 (when critics derided them as wasteful -- they became known as “bridges to nowhere,”), Alaska had used federal funds specifically intended for other purposes to conduct work on these bridges.  The Democratic motion was intended to prevent further funding of those two projects.

Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) urged support for the motion to recommit: “…Usually when something is killed, it stays dead. But just like in a bad zombie movie, some bad earmarks refuse to die and return to life time and time again as wasteful spending…The Bridge to Nowhere has become synonymous with government waste….Although Congress has tried to stop these bridges to nowhere by giving Alaska the authority to use its earmarked funds on other transportation projects, Alaska has still used $71 million of federal funds…to continue work on two bridges to nowhere. Sadly, Alaska's earmarked bridges to nowhere, like zombies eating the brains of taxpayers, refuse to die.”

Rep. John Mica (R-FL), the only member to speak in opposition to this motion to recommit, said only: “Well, congratulations my colleagues. Welcome to the era of smoke and mirrors, and that's exactly what this motion to recommit is; and I urge its defeat. You heard the gentleman [Rep. Polis] describing bridges. He, again, is trying to mislead the entire House on this particular motion to recommit. It is smoke and mirrors. I urge the defeat of the motion to recommit.” National Journal reported on Mica’s response: “A Mica spokesman said Wednesday night he needed to get more details before responding to Democrats’ claims.”

The House rejected this motion to recommit by a vote of 181-246. Voting “yea” were 181 Democrats. 239 Republicans and 7 Democrats voted “nay.” As a result, the House rejected a motion to recommit that would have rescinded all funding for the planning, design, or construction of the Gravina Island Bridge and the Knik Arm Bridge in Alaska.

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