4:17 PM EDT

Earl Blumenauer, D-OR 3rd

Mr. BLUMENAUER. Mr. Speaker, this may be the last chance Congress has to honor our commitments to provide answers about transportation funding and develop a framework that will guide the Federal partnership that has meant so much. The motion won't kill the bill, and it won't delay the bill. It simply reduces the funding to the amount necessary for Congress to do its job before we adjourn for the year. It is so that we cannot duck our responsibilities and hand this off not to the next Congress

but to the Congress after that.

Make no mistake, Mr. Speaker, in May of next year there will be no transportation bill, there will be no funding, and Congress will be even more nervous and confused with a transportation problem that will be more complex. It will be more expensive, and the politics, I am sad to say, will be harder, not easier.

My good friend, the chair of the Ways and Means Committee, does have a proposal. He has never had a hearing on it. And it was dismissed when it was announced by his own Speaker, if I quote: ``Blah, blah, blah.''

This is a sad moment for me. But it is not too late for us to do something about it. We need to move forward and have a tighter timetable. Let's finally have a hearing in Ways and Means. Let's have a proposal going forward. I am perfectly willing to work in August to do this. I would be happy for us to add days in September. We shouldn't recess in October to campaign and leave a big question mark. It is true that it takes time to put these things together, but we won't be putting it together

next spring, mark my words.

The Republicans need to enable us to find out where they stand. Will they finally have a hearing on my friend Mr. Camp's proposal? Will they slash the highway trust fund and abandon the responsibilities? Or will they just use the Ryan budget and reduce transportation 30 percent over the next 10 years and no new projects for 15 months?

Those are all legitimate issues. They deserve to have a day in court, and if we get down to work, we could resolve it. I am confident we can do it, and it will be just as easy, if not easier, to do now than waiting until next year when the clock will be ticking, when half the United States Senate will be running for President, and we will have a new lineup, other than the Speaker, who may be happy to have avoided it. It is not going to be any easier.

I respectfully suggest that we honor those 62 groups that want us to move. Look, they would much rather have us do it this year.

We had infrastructure that was once the envy of the world. Now it is a source of embarrassment. We are 27th in the world and sinking. Our problems are getting more expensive, and they are getting harder. I know how hard the job that the chair of the T&I Committee has. I respect him, I respect the committee, but they need to know exactly how much money they have got so they can fashion a bill, and if they did that, they would be able to crank one out, I am confident, in a month or two. But right

now, after an entire Congress, they don't have a bill. We don't have a bill.

Those 62 groups and organizations don't have a path. What they have is a great big question mark next May when we start this all over again. This shouldn't be a partisan argument. I disagreed when President Bush shut it down. I disagreed that President Obama didn't move forward, but it is not Republicans versus Democrats. It is not House versus Senate. It is time for us to all come together and work as the stakeholders would have us do.

In fact, we don't even have to have any courage. We can just follow what those experts who represent truckers, AAA, local government, and contractors have offered as guidance. Read the special commissions that have reported to President Bush. This is not rocket science. It is will, it is action, it is deciding exactly how much we are going to spend and when.

Mr. Speaker, I would respectfully request that the House approve this motion to recommit, give us enough time and money to avoid the summer shutdown but not enough to let this Congress off the hook and hand it off to the 115th or the 120th Congress, but we do our job so America can do its.

Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.