Republican Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee called out his own party on Wednesday for being “incredibly irresponsible” when it came to extending funding for the country’s roads, bridges and transit systems.
“We’re going to kick the can down the road,” Corker said during an event on Wednesday hosted by the Christian Science Monitor. “So, incredibly irresponsible, total failure, abdication of leadership, and again, a definition of conservatism is now becoming spending the same amount of money but just not paying for it."
The Highway Trust Fund, set up to fund transportation infrastructure throughout the nation, will expire on May 31 unless a plan is introduced to move it forward. As it stands, neither party has yet to offer such a plan. The Senat Finance Committee has been in talks to figure out a short-term solution to the problem, but have not settled on a funding source, the Huffington Post reports.
Corker criticized the GOP for not stepping up and wasting time on moving forward with highway funding.
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“Look, Republicans, my friends, us, I’m part of this, although I very much disagree with this policy, you know, we’re becoming the party of you know what conservatism means is spending almost the same amount of money, in some cases more, but not paying for it,” he said. “And that’s conservatism today. It’s just not the conservatism that I grew up with.”
The Tennessee senator expressed doubts that his party would deal with the Highway Trust Fund issue responsibly, saying that he felt the chances of Republicans being willing to increase the federal gas tax -- one viable solution for funding that has been discussed -- seems unlikely.
“The writing is on the wall. I will be stunned if Republicans deal with highway trust fund responsibly,” Corker said. “It’s not going to happen.”
Last week Republican Senate leaders reportedly said a short-term funding extension would probably go into effect when The Highway Trust Fund expired. This move would allow the Department of Transportation to continue paying states until the summer.
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Photo Credit: capitolhillblue.com, nashvillepublicradio.org