The conservative groups, Club for Growth and Heritage Action, spent much of the last two weeks pushing members of the House and Senate to oppose legislation to preserve federal highway and transit investment, with one group telling Congress the federal highway program is “a wasteful and inefficient program that shouldn’t even exist.” Both groups urged House members to oppose the chamber’s proposed trust fund patch—House members approved the legislation 367 to 55 (with Republicans voting 181-45). Heritage Action and The Club for Growth urged senators to oppose a senate-version of the HTF bill—Senators approved the measure 79 to 18 (with Republican votes breaking 25-18). The groups also urged senators to support an amendment from Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) that would have cut the federal gas and diesel taxes by roughly 80 percent as a means to coerce states to take more responsibility for transportation infrastructure investment—the amendment failed 69 to 28. Although 28 Republicans voted for the Lee amendment, 12 of those senators ended up supporting final passage of the senate HTF measure.
The willingness of Republicans in the House and Senate to go against these professional conservative activist groups further demonstrates the broad bipartisan support that exists on Capitol Hill for federal transportation infrastructure investment.