While no one was watching, congress, including an overwhelming majority of the Republicans in congress, voted to extend the federal gasoline tax to pay for the combined transportation and education bill signed into law today by President Obama.
The White House assembled an audience of construction workers and college students for the bill-signing -- the two groups of Americans most directly affected by the legislation, which was passed by Congress just before a June 30 deadline for both measures.
The new law will provide construction work on the nation's crumbling roads and bridges. It will prevent interest rates from doubling for more than 7 million students. [...]
The transportation provisions will provide more than $100 billion over the next two years for roads, bridges and mass transit projects. Most of the money comes from extending the 18.4 cents-a-gallon federal gasoline tax for two years.
While this is merely an extension of current spending levels, achieving that without another hostage crisis is a clear victory.
The Republicans wasted all of their hostage-taking mojo on the debt ceiling deal. The deal they now desperately want to reverse despite Speaker Boehner's claim that he "got 98 percent" of what he wanted.