Guess she’ll have to take the bus.
Funding for a rail project near House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s California district that Republicans denounced as wasteful was removed Tuesday from President Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 stimulus bill.
The Senate parliamentarian ruled the $140 million appropriation wasn’t allowed under the so-called Byrd rule that polices unrelated items in budget reconciliation bills.
Republicans singled out the rail project as an example of unrelated “pork” in the bill, which is being rammed through Congress without Republican support using special rules that allow a simple majority vote in the Senate.
On Tuesday, Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) ridiculed the project as Pelosi’s “tunnel of love” ahead of an anticipated vote on the package later this week.
Aides to Pelosi, who represents San Francisco, had defended the project, saying that ridership for mass-transit plummeted during the pandemic, making it reasonable to increase government spending.
“The Senate Parliamentarian has now ruled that the BART extension from San Jose to Santa Clara does not meet the requirements of the Byrd rule because it is part of a pilot project. Therefore, it will be removed from the reconciliation package,” Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill said.
A separate $1.5 million allocation for the Seaway International Bridge between Massena, New York, and Canada also will be removed, he said.
The Senate parliamentarian previously blocked Democrats from including a federal minimum wage hike to $15 per hour in the bill.
Hammill defended the original inclusion of the rail funds.
“COVID-19 had an immediate and overwhelming effect on all of our transportation systems and the millions of transportation and construction jobs associated with them,” he said.
“As part of the $30 billion in public transit support, the House included $1.425 billion to help dozens of major transit rail capital projects, including the BART extension from San Jose to Santa Clara.”