House Transpo Leaders United — in Frustration With the White House – StreetsBlog (6/18/09):
Senior members of the House transportation committee today fired a warning shot at those pushing an 18-month extension of existing federal law, putting the Obama administration and key senators on notice that their $450 billion proposal would move forward this year.
Rep. Jim Oberstar (D-MN), the transportation panel’s chairman, described a delay in long-term funding as a risk to jobs and growth opportunities that were created by the recent stimulus law.
And Oberstar made no attempt to hide his disdain for the Obama economic advisers who helped trim transit’s share of that stimulus plan. Holding up a red shovel for a phalanx of photographers, Oberstar quipped: “There are folks in the economic gang at the White House who never had a shovel in their hands or a callus on their fingers.”
Rep. Pete DeFazio (D-OR), chairman of Oberstar’s subcommittee on highways and transit, told Streetsblog that he hopes senators will “have second thoughts” about the administration’s 18-month extension. “When we met with the Senate, we agreed to their principles. We told them we’d give them a product,” he said.
Before the assembled media, DeFazio was cutting in his criticism of the White House’s transportation strategy. “The Obama administration has lifted a play out of the Bush White House book,” he said, predicting that the extensions would last longer than LaHood’s proposed 18 months.
“Now the administration of change has come and said, ‘We think the status quo is just fine’ … it’s at least two years, more likely three or four,” DeFazio said.
I’m sure there’s something significant that Obama has changed, but I’m at a loss to recall.