President Obama on Friday, just in time to beat the deadline, signed the bill to extend highway funding for three months. Leaders in the House of Representatives say the extension will give them enough time to come up with a multiyear plan and then negotiate a new highway bill with the Senate, who passed their version last week.
“We can’t keep on funding transportation by the seat of our pants, three months at a time,” Obama said as he prepared to sign the extension. “It’s just not how the greatest country on Earth should be doing its business.”
Except, of course, it is the way the U.S. has done business since SAFETEA-LU expired in 2009 (depending on how one feels about MAP-21's two-year authorization).
As a counterpoint to Obama, who’s entirely too well mannered when criticizing Congress, here’s The Daily Show’s take on highway funding, from this time last year. Not much has changed.
Jon Stewart’s analysis is spot on: He diagrams all of the convoluted maneuvers Congress is willing to go through in order not to raise the federal tax on gasoline and diesel. The punch line features Obama at a visit to a transportation research facility, where he enthusiastically takes a car simulator for a spin down a virtual highway. “It feels like we’re getting somewhere," Stewart concludes, "but we ain’t."
Be advised that you might want to turn down the computer speakers if you share an office—or skip the video altogether if Jon Stewart’s humor isn’t to your liking.
Stewart is stepping down this week; Obama will be staying on through the end of next year.