Today’s 74-22 vote in favor of the Senate transportation bill was no anomaly, it was just one more in a long line of transportation bills approved by strong bipartisan majorities. All but one of the most recent transportation bills passed with votes over the 80 percent mark, and quite a few were well over 90 percent in favor.
All of these numbers make the inability for the House’s proposal to even come close to 50 percent approval ever more glaring. According to sources on the Hill, H.R. 7 was getting 180 votes or fewer in the “whip counts” by leadership to gauge support — far below even the minimum 218 that would represent a simple majority at just over 50 percent.
Check out this graphic below of votes on the transportation bills since 1987 and how they compare to this year’s effort in the House (and the Senate.)
The House should look closely at the path taken by the Senate to today’s approval of MAP-21: both parties working together, compromising where necessary, and making some common-sense reforms and producing a bill the majority can support. Thus far the House leadership has sought to write a bill that only the Republican majority can support, but even that strategy hasn’t netted total agreement within the GOP.