Here Comes Congress’ Next Big Economic Crisis, And It Could Be Even Worse Than The Fiscal Cliff

Sunday, May 18, 2014
By Paul Martin

MAY 15, 2014

We survived the fiscal cliff and the government shutdown. But there’s another big battle brewing this summer between Congress and the Obama administration with dire economic consequences that could cost the country hundreds of thousands of jobs.

And even though politicians on both sides of the aisle agree this disaster is “completely avoidable,” all signs indicate we’re on a collision course with crisis.

On Wednesday, President Barack Obama gave his first formal warning about this impending self-inflicted disaster — the Highway Trust Fund, a transportation and infrastructure fund financed by gasoline taxes, is set to run out by the end of the summer.

Thus far, Congress has not come up with a solution, and both sides are beginning to dig in. By July, thousands of projects and contracts could be put on hold amid the uncertainty — right in the middle of summer construction season. In one economic analysis released last week, the Obama administration warned 700,000 jobs tied to the fund and its uncertain future are at stake.

“Right now, there are more than 100,000 active projects paving roads and rebuilding bridges, modernizing our transit systems,” Obama said Wednesday in remarks near the Tappan Zee Bridge in Tarrytown, New York, where a $3.9 billion effort to replace the current aging structure is underway.

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