The Democrats’ preparations for shutting down the government July 1 took another step closer to inevitability, with State House Democrat leaders putting the brakes on transportation package negotiations until a state budget deal is reached. That frustrated the Democrat Chair of the Transportation Committee, Judy Clibborn, who believes legislators are close to coming to an agreement on a much-needed transportation package. She did confirm that both sides are “close enough to a transportation agreement that they could move quickly once a final state budget deal has been struck.”
But actually passing a transportation package doesn’t fit the narrative of Jay Inslee and House Democrats that it’s the Republicans in the Senate who are holding everything up.
Reportedly, the transportation negotiating teams of the House and Senate have been meeting two to three times a week to negotiate differences between their packages. Given the hard work put into developing a transportation package, it isn’t surprising that Republican Sen. Curtis King, the chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee, is more than just a little disappointed. The News Tribune,
“‘All of us were working very well together,’ he said. ‘We were getting close to having an agreement. Now they want to take what has been a very good process and politicize it and hold it hostage.’
“King warned that if a package isn’t passed this year, it will likely be two years before the Legislature takes up transportation funding again, saying that because next year is an election year, it will be harder to get lawmakers to vote on a gas tax.
“‘We just have a variety of issues in our transportation system that need to be addressed,’ he said. ‘Bridges and highways that are crumbling, trying to address congestion. The longer we wait the more it’s going to cost us.’
No doubt, the halt on transportation talks has a lot to do with the Senate Republicans consumer protection measure that would keep Jay Inslee from using an executive order to implement his gas-price raising fuel mandate scheme. The transportation package’s consumer protection measure is critical to preventing Inslee from bypassing the state Legislature and implementing his extreme green agenda by executive order. For that reason, Inslee and his fellow Democrats have labeled the safeguard provision a “poison pill.”
As King stated, House Democrats appear willing to hold our state’s transportation needs—and, by extension, the Senate Republicans consumer protection measure—hostage to their tax-increase demands. This isn’t the first time Democrats have used transportation as a tool to achieve their bigger government agenda, and it likely will not be the last.
It should come as no surprise that Democrats are, once again, holding a transportation package hostage. After all, Democrats are more than willing shut down the state government if it means getting what they want—and they’re banking on the public blaming Republicans.