1:25 PM EDT

Bill Shuster, R-PA 9th

Mr. SHUSTER. Madam Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

We have an immediate, critical need to address the solvency of the trust fund and extend the current surface transportation law. If Congress fails to act, thousands of transportation projects and hundreds of thousands of jobs across the country will be at risk.

Two weeks ago, the House acted and passed H.R. 5021, the Highway and Transportation Funding Act of 2014. This important legislation extends Federal surface transportation programs and ensures the solvency of the highway trust fund through May of 2015. It provides certainty.

The House overwhelmingly passed H.R. 5021 with a bipartisan vote of 367-55. Then we waited for the Senate to act. We continue to wait and wait. Then on Tuesday, the Senate finally acted. The Senate amended our bill to reduce funding for the highway trust fund and only extend surface transportation programs through December 19, 2014.

The Senate approach is deeply flawed. First, the Senate proposal is not fully offset. It underfunds the highway trust fund by more than $2 billion. Second, the Senate's shorter extension would guarantee a manufactured crisis in a lameduck session, when some might be inclined to play politics with these issues or use them as vehicles for unrelated policies that should be subject to the full and open debate they deserve.

Today, the House is considering a motion to disagree with the Senate amendment to H.R. 5021 and send our original bill back to the Senate. I strongly support this motion. This course of action in no way precludes Congress from continuing to work on addressing a long-term funding solution and a long-term reauthorization bill, which remains a top priority for the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE

1:25 PM EDT

Bill Shuster, R-PA 9th

Mr. SHUSTER. Madam Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

We have an immediate, critical need to address the solvency of the trust fund and extend the current surface transportation law. If Congress fails to act, thousands of transportation projects and hundreds of thousands of jobs across the country will be at risk.

Two weeks ago, the House acted and passed H.R. 5021, the Highway and Transportation Funding Act of 2014. This important legislation extends Federal surface transportation programs and ensures the solvency of the highway trust fund through May of 2015. It provides certainty.

The House overwhelmingly passed H.R. 5021 with a bipartisan vote of 367-55. Then we waited for the Senate to act. We continue to wait and wait. Then on Tuesday, the Senate finally acted. The Senate amended our bill to reduce funding for the highway trust fund and only extend surface transportation programs through December 19, 2014.

The Senate approach is deeply flawed. First, the Senate proposal is not fully offset. It underfunds the highway trust fund by more than $2 billion. Second, the Senate's shorter extension would guarantee a manufactured crisis in a lameduck session, when some might be inclined to play politics with these issues or use them as vehicles for unrelated policies that should be subject to the full and open debate they deserve.

Today, the House is considering a motion to disagree with the Senate amendment to H.R. 5021 and send our original bill back to the Senate. I strongly support this motion. This course of action in no way precludes Congress from continuing to work on addressing a long-term funding solution and a long-term reauthorization bill, which remains a top priority for the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE

1:27 PM EDT

Bill Shuster, R-PA 9th

Mr. SHUSTER. Madam Speaker, I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Senate on our shared goal of enacting a long-term surface transportation reauthorization bill. However, this approach is the responsible solution at this time. It ensures that we don't play politics with these programs and enables us to continue [Page: H7173]

making improvements to our surface transportation system.

I strongly urge all Members to support this motion. A vote against this motion is a vote to shut down these projects and programs and would put more than 6,000 projects and more than 700,000 jobs at risk.

Madam Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

1:28 PM EDT

Nick Rahall II, D-WV 3rd

Mr. RAHALL. Madam Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Madam Speaker, 2 weeks ago, I stood in this exact spot and urged passage of a highway trust fund patch as soon as possible to keep our surface transportation programs up and running.

Now we stand at the edge of an enormous cliff with days--not weeks--to go before the trust fund goes belly up and the Transportation Department starts rationing payments to States. We do not have the luxury of time to deliberate or trade further ideas. Congress needs to act now to enact a bill and avert an unnecessary crisis. That is why I support the motion before us today, but not because I think the House bill is a better approach.

The Senate extended programs through December to keep the pressure on Congress to enact a long-term highway bill as soon as possible. I fully support this approach. Unfortunately, the Senate amendment contains a technical error. It does not fully offset the transfer to the highway trust fund, and the House Republican leadership has made clear that the House will not consider a highway bill that is not fully offset.

With a single legislative day left to address this looming crisis, we need to ensure continued funding of roads, bridges, transit systems, and the safety of our travelers and passengers.

Two weeks ago, House Democrats supported a shorter extension as an alternative to H.R. 5021.

[Time: 13:30]

This approach was rejected by House Republicans. Today, the House Republican leadership will not even allow us to vote on a fix to the technical error in the Senate amendment.

The House bill and the Senate amendment both help States get through the remainder of this construction season, and they both provide the opportunity for Congress to come together on a bipartisan basis, which the chairman and I have done so well under his tenure and for which I commend him, and pass a long-term surface transportation law in a lameduck session.

There is absolutely no reason that Congress cannot come together and complete a long-term highway bill this fall. I repeat the point I just made, that this legislation that we are acting on today does not preclude us from coming together in a lameduck session of Congress and doing what is necessary for the American people, and that is passing a long-term, robustly funded transportation bill that puts our people to work and repairs our decaying infrastructure.

While I will vote for this motion today, it is not because the House approach is a better solution, but because it does provide the only path forward available to us to avert an immediate crisis and still allow the opportunity for Congress to do the right thing.

I reserve the balance of my time.

1:28 PM EDT

Nick Rahall II, D-WV 3rd

Mr. RAHALL. Madam Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Madam Speaker, 2 weeks ago, I stood in this exact spot and urged passage of a highway trust fund patch as soon as possible to keep our surface transportation programs up and running.

Now we stand at the edge of an enormous cliff with days--not weeks--to go before the trust fund goes belly up and the Transportation Department starts rationing payments to States. We do not have the luxury of time to deliberate or trade further ideas. Congress needs to act now to enact a bill and avert an unnecessary crisis. That is why I support the motion before us today, but not because I think the House bill is a better approach.

The Senate extended programs through December to keep the pressure on Congress to enact a long-term highway bill as soon as possible. I fully support this approach. Unfortunately, the Senate amendment contains a technical error. It does not fully offset the transfer to the highway trust fund, and the House Republican leadership has made clear that the House will not consider a highway bill that is not fully offset.

With a single legislative day left to address this looming crisis, we need to ensure continued funding of roads, bridges, transit systems, and the safety of our travelers and passengers.

Two weeks ago, House Democrats supported a shorter extension as an alternative to H.R. 5021.

[Time: 13:30]

This approach was rejected by House Republicans. Today, the House Republican leadership will not even allow us to vote on a fix to the technical error in the Senate amendment.

The House bill and the Senate amendment both help States get through the remainder of this construction season, and they both provide the opportunity for Congress to come together on a bipartisan basis, which the chairman and I have done so well under his tenure and for which I commend him, and pass a long-term surface transportation law in a lameduck session.

There is absolutely no reason that Congress cannot come together and complete a long-term highway bill this fall. I repeat the point I just made, that this legislation that we are acting on today does not preclude us from coming together in a lameduck session of Congress and doing what is necessary for the American people, and that is passing a long-term, robustly funded transportation bill that puts our people to work and repairs our decaying infrastructure.

While I will vote for this motion today, it is not because the House approach is a better solution, but because it does provide the only path forward available to us to avert an immediate crisis and still allow the opportunity for Congress to do the right thing.

I reserve the balance of my time.

1:28 PM EDT

Nick Rahall II, D-WV 3rd

Mr. RAHALL. Madam Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Madam Speaker, 2 weeks ago, I stood in this exact spot and urged passage of a highway trust fund patch as soon as possible to keep our surface transportation programs up and running.

Now we stand at the edge of an enormous cliff with days--not weeks--to go before the trust fund goes belly up and the Transportation Department starts rationing payments to States. We do not have the luxury of time to deliberate or trade further ideas. Congress needs to act now to enact a bill and avert an unnecessary crisis. That is why I support the motion before us today, but not because I think the House bill is a better approach.

The Senate extended programs through December to keep the pressure on Congress to enact a long-term highway bill as soon as possible. I fully support this approach. Unfortunately, the Senate amendment contains a technical error. It does not fully offset the transfer to the highway trust fund, and the House Republican leadership has made clear that the House will not consider a highway bill that is not fully offset.

With a single legislative day left to address this looming crisis, we need to ensure continued funding of roads, bridges, transit systems, and the safety of our travelers and passengers.

Two weeks ago, House Democrats supported a shorter extension as an alternative to H.R. 5021.

[Time: 13:30]

This approach was rejected by House Republicans. Today, the House Republican leadership will not even allow us to vote on a fix to the technical error in the Senate amendment.

The House bill and the Senate amendment both help States get through the remainder of this construction season, and they both provide the opportunity for Congress to come together on a bipartisan basis, which the chairman and I have done so well under his tenure and for which I commend him, and pass a long-term surface transportation law in a lameduck session.

There is absolutely no reason that Congress cannot come together and complete a long-term highway bill this fall. I repeat the point I just made, that this legislation that we are acting on today does not preclude us from coming together in a lameduck session of Congress and doing what is necessary for the American people, and that is passing a long-term, robustly funded transportation bill that puts our people to work and repairs our decaying infrastructure.

While I will vote for this motion today, it is not because the House approach is a better solution, but because it does provide the only path forward available to us to avert an immediate crisis and still allow the opportunity for Congress to do the right thing.

I reserve the balance of my time.

1:31 PM EDT

Larry D. Bucshon M.D., R-IN 8th

Mr. BUCSHON. Madam Speaker, I rise today in support of this important motion.

Last year, I was honored to be a conferee on MAP-21, and I am proud of the bill our conference committee produced. Our Nation's transportation projects are being completed faster, and States like my home State of Indiana received more Federal funding than they had in the past.

With construction season under way, we need to ensure that every State can continue with their important summer construction projects. This legislation--this motion--is vital to keep thousands of Americans working to rebuild our aging infrastructure.

Funding our Nation's infrastructure should not be a political issue. We all agree that we need a long-term solution to fund our Nation's crumbling infrastructure, but today we need to approve this motion.

The proposal from our Senate colleagues contained an error in financing for their bill that only paid for funding through October, not December. The error came in over $2 billion short. Nobody plans even the smallest transportation project on a month-to-month basis, and we should not be providing funding on a month-to-month basis. The Senate bill is not a viable solution for our States.

I met with Indiana Governor Mike Pence this morning, who reiterated to me how important it is to continue to provide long-term funding for every State. The House bill is the only proposal that gives every State the opportunity to adequately plan through this construction season and into the spring. The House bill is the only solution that is going to keep people working to rebuild our Nation's infrastructure.

I thank Chairman Shuster for his strong leadership on this issue, and I urge all of my colleagues to support this motion.

1:31 PM EDT

Larry D. Bucshon M.D., R-IN 8th

Mr. BUCSHON. Madam Speaker, I rise today in support of this important motion.

Last year, I was honored to be a conferee on MAP-21, and I am proud of the bill our conference committee produced. Our Nation's transportation projects are being completed faster, and States like my home State of Indiana received more Federal funding than they had in the past.

With construction season under way, we need to ensure that every State can continue with their important summer construction projects. This legislation--this motion--is vital to keep thousands of Americans working to rebuild our aging infrastructure.

Funding our Nation's infrastructure should not be a political issue. We all agree that we need a long-term solution to fund our Nation's crumbling infrastructure, but today we need to approve this motion.

The proposal from our Senate colleagues contained an error in financing for their bill that only paid for funding through October, not December. The error came in over $2 billion short. Nobody plans even the smallest transportation project on a month-to-month basis, and we should not be providing funding on a month-to-month basis. The Senate bill is not a viable solution for our States.

I met with Indiana Governor Mike Pence this morning, who reiterated to me how important it is to continue to provide long-term funding for every State. The House bill is the only proposal that gives every State the opportunity to adequately plan through this construction season and into the spring. The House bill is the only solution that is going to keep people working to rebuild our Nation's infrastructure.

I thank Chairman Shuster for his strong leadership on this issue, and I urge all of my colleagues to support this motion.

1:33 PM EDT

Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-DC

Ms. NORTON. Madam Speaker, I thank my good friend, the ranking member of the full committee, for his work to try to get us a fully funded bill, that I am sure the chairman desired as well.

But I must say, Madam Speaker, we have shored up the highway trust fund four times since 2008--four patches, this would be the fifth--until May. Everyone knows what we are doing. We are setting ourselves up for another series of short-term extensions. We don't dare leave the trust fund insolvent--not us. But we don't have the guts to help our own States get on with urgently needed projects.

Short-term funding is like no funding. Where is the dissent on this traditionally bipartisan bill, the highway bill. It is certainly not in the States. It is in the Republican Conference, where they have a crisis among some of their members who believe that spending money on anything is an original sin, even at the demand of their own constituents.

Madam Speaker, I don't have the figures from my own district, so I give you some figures from the State of Arkansas, which I chose at random, to indicate what this bill means for the States. Arkansas relies for about 70 percent of its transportation funding on this bill. However, it has put off 15 projects, even with this bill coming. I am quoting from its Highway and Transportation Department:

We don't feel comfortable going forward with these projects because we are not sure if the highway trust fund will be resolved in time to fully see these projects to completion.

That is the position you are leaving the States in.

1:34 PM EDT

Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-DC

Ms. NORTON. Madam Speaker, I thank my good friend, the ranking member of the full committee, for his work to try to get us a fully funded bill, that I am sure the chairman desired as well.

But I must say, Madam Speaker, we have shored up the highway trust fund four times since 2008--four patches, this would be the fifth--until May. Everyone knows what we are doing. We are setting ourselves up for another series of short-term extensions. We don't dare leave the trust fund insolvent--not us. But we don't have the guts to help our own States get on with urgently needed projects.

Short-term funding is like no funding. Where is the dissent on this traditionally bipartisan bill, the highway bill. It is certainly not in the States. It is in the Republican Conference, where they have a crisis among some of their members who believe that spending money on anything is an original sin, even at the demand of their own constituents.

Madam Speaker, I don't have the figures from my own district, so I give you some figures from the State of Arkansas, which I chose at random, to indicate what this bill means for the States. Arkansas relies for about 70 percent of its transportation funding on this bill. However, it has put off 15 projects, even with this bill coming. I am quoting from its Highway and Transportation Department:

We don't feel comfortable going forward with these projects because we are not sure if the highway trust fund will be resolved in time to fully see these projects to completion.

That is the position you are leaving the States in.

1:37 PM EDT

Markwayne Mullin, R-OK 2nd

Mr. MULLIN. Madam Speaker, it is with great pleasure that I stand in front of you today in support of H.R. 5021, the Highway Transportation and Funding Act.

We, as a body, stand here all the time and we talk about creating jobs. What [Page: H7174]

we need to do is create an atmosphere where jobs can thrive.

If this bill for some reason doesn't pass, we are talking about putting over 700,000 jobs at risk. In Oklahoma alone, that is 200 construction jobs at risk.

We need time. Yes, this Congress, this body, every now and then we push things down the road, but we are truly trying to find a real solution. The Senate bill just didn't give us enough time. This will push it through May and allow us to look at a long-term funding solution.

Now, either we are going to stand up as a whole and say, yes, this is our responsibility, yes, we are going to provide the industry confidence that this body is going to stay with them, or what we say when we are talking about creating jobs really doesn't mean anything.

Look, we have an opportunity here to build confidence in construction workers and contractors that we depend on every day. We rely on them to get to and from work. When we go to our local stores, we depend on them to make sure the goods are delivered there. And are we going to continue bickering about it a little bit or are we going to stand up and say, let's make sure you are funded? Let's stand up and say, we support you, we are going to make sure that industry and the 700,000 jobs that are

there, we are going to make sure that you go to work tomorrow.

Let's make sure that we stand together as a body and invest in our infrastructure.

1:37 PM EDT

Markwayne Mullin, R-OK 2nd

Mr. MULLIN. Madam Speaker, it is with great pleasure that I stand in front of you today in support of H.R. 5021, the Highway Transportation and Funding Act.

We, as a body, stand here all the time and we talk about creating jobs. What [Page: H7174]

we need to do is create an atmosphere where jobs can thrive.

If this bill for some reason doesn't pass, we are talking about putting over 700,000 jobs at risk. In Oklahoma alone, that is 200 construction jobs at risk.

We need time. Yes, this Congress, this body, every now and then we push things down the road, but we are truly trying to find a real solution. The Senate bill just didn't give us enough time. This will push it through May and allow us to look at a long-term funding solution.

Now, either we are going to stand up as a whole and say, yes, this is our responsibility, yes, we are going to provide the industry confidence that this body is going to stay with them, or what we say when we are talking about creating jobs really doesn't mean anything.

Look, we have an opportunity here to build confidence in construction workers and contractors that we depend on every day. We rely on them to get to and from work. When we go to our local stores, we depend on them to make sure the goods are delivered there. And are we going to continue bickering about it a little bit or are we going to stand up and say, let's make sure you are funded? Let's stand up and say, we support you, we are going to make sure that industry and the 700,000 jobs that are

there, we are going to make sure that you go to work tomorrow.

Let's make sure that we stand together as a body and invest in our infrastructure.

1:40 PM EDT

Earl Blumenauer, D-OR 3rd

Mr. BLUMENAUER. Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the gentleman's courtesy and his leadership.

I listened to my friend from Oklahoma. I wish his leadership would listen to him to create an atmosphere of certainty and move forward.

There is a reason why the stakeholders uniformly supported the Senate approach. The Senate approach said: Wait a minute, on a bipartisan basis--79 votes, 25 Republicans--we said we are not going to kick this into the next Congress, because that is where the crisis is going to be. You will be in the middle of a new Congress, who knows what the lineup is going to be in the House and the Senate, and Presidential elections, and you won't be giving the certainty to the industry that they are asking

for.

That is why construction trades, contractors, the AFL-CIO, Chamber of Commerce, the people who pave the roads, were uniformly supporting the Senate approach. They don't want to slide it into the next year.

I serve on the Ways and Means Committee. I have been trying for now 3 1/2 years to get the Republicans who control the Ways and Means Committee to have a hearing on transportation finance. We have not had one in 3 1/2 years. Now, that is the responsibility of the Ways and Means Committee. I left the T&I Committee hoping that I could help you in the pursuit of resources--3 1/2 years, not a single hearing. My goodness. That is why we have had ever shorter reauthorizations. I don't count a 27-month

bill as a reauthorization. And we had 21 short-term extensions.

Now, the House here, the Democrats uniformly said, let's get enough money to get us through the year and let's work together on the long-term issues, maybe we can even have a hearing on finance. When our notion didn't pass--although it was supported by all but three of our colleagues on the Democratic side--when it didn't pass, we didn't pick up our marbles and go home. We provided enough votes, because the Republicans didn't have enough votes to pass it, we provided enough votes hoping that

we could get something better coming back from the Senate, and we did get something better coming back from the Senate.

There was a drafting error that we could pass a fix for in 14 1/2 seconds on the floor of the House if we had the spirit of accommodation and followthrough, which my friend, the ranking member, has seen in his long years and has participated in. To try and advance it.

But, no, what we have seen is people are going to turn their back, they are going to slide into the next Congress, and we are going to duck all the tough issues. We haven't heard anything that deals with how we are going to move forward. The T&I Committee doesn't have a bill.

I would respectfully suggest that we ought to reject this motion, that, in fact, we ought not to reject what the Senate did. Let's work together. We can solve this in a matter of minutes if people are committed to doing so. We would be keeping faith with the people who build, who operate, and who rely upon the transportation systems in this country.

We have a unique moment in history to be on the side of that vast nonpartisan coalition that wants us to do our job. I would respectfully request that we do it, and that we commit as a body that we are not going on vacation in August, we are not going to recess to campaign, and we won't recess for the year until we do our job for the American public.

1:44 PM EDT

Nick Rahall II, D-WV 3rd

Mr. RAHALL. Madam Speaker, I am happy to yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from Oregon (Mr. DeFazio), a valued member of our Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the ranking member of the House Natural Resources Committee.

1:44 PM EDT

Peter A. DeFazio, D-OR 4th

Mr. DeFAZIO. Madam Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding.

Many years ago, I worked as a bicycle mechanic, so I know how to patch a tube. But if you get to the point where you can't see the tube anymore for the patches, then it is time for a new tube.

Well, that is where we are at here today. We have had study after study that we are not even investing enough money in our infrastructure to bring it up to a state of good repair, let alone build a modern 21st century infrastructure.

[Time: 13:45]

We were the envy of the world with the Eisenhower program. We were the number one in infrastructure in the world. Where are we now? We are number 26. We are down there slugging it out with Third World countries, in terms of our infrastructure.

140,000 bridges on the national highway system need repair or replacement. Forty percent of the national highway system is so deteriorated that it has to be totally replaced. You can't just patch it anymore. You just can't resurface anymore.

Our transit agencies have a $70 billion backlog to bring their existing systems up to a state of good repair--not to build new transit options for Americans, no--just to bring what we have up to a state of good repair.

Why are we here today? Because there are people on that side of the aisle who actually don't believe it is either the duty, obligation, or right of the Federal Government to invest in a national highway system, a national transportation system. They believe in devolution. Make the States do it.

We tried that. In the 1950s, Kansas built a brand-new turnpike. It ended at the Oklahoma border because Oklahoma ran out of money, and they didn't build it until the Eisenhower bill went through.

They want to go back to those good old days of the 1950s, when you couldn't even have roads that connected between States. That is nuts. It was bad in the middle of the last century, and it is nuts for the 21st century.

Are we just going to kick the can down the road again? If we pass this Republican proposal to continue the current anemic levels of funding until next May, that is not going to bring the States the certainty they need. It is not going to bring the industry the robust investment they need. It is not going to get us the jobs we need.

Yes, we will limp along until next May, and then there will be incredible uncertainty about the next construction season. There won't be major new projects planned. Nothing will happen. We need to resolve that this year.

We should stay here, as the gentleman from Oregon said, and resolve it this August. Five weeks, guys, and we can't get to this issue? Then you are going to kick it into next year? Better, at least, that we are confronted with it before the end of this year; then maybe we can get a robust funding source.

Maybe we can make the investments we need. Maybe we could give the [Page: H7175]

States the tools they need next construction season and the certainty they need next construction season to go forward.

1:44 PM EDT

Peter A. DeFazio, D-OR 4th

Mr. DeFAZIO. Madam Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding.

Many years ago, I worked as a bicycle mechanic, so I know how to patch a tube. But if you get to the point where you can't see the tube anymore for the patches, then it is time for a new tube.

Well, that is where we are at here today. We have had study after study that we are not even investing enough money in our infrastructure to bring it up to a state of good repair, let alone build a modern 21st century infrastructure.

[Time: 13:45]

We were the envy of the world with the Eisenhower program. We were the number one in infrastructure in the world. Where are we now? We are number 26. We are down there slugging it out with Third World countries, in terms of our infrastructure.

140,000 bridges on the national highway system need repair or replacement. Forty percent of the national highway system is so deteriorated that it has to be totally replaced. You can't just patch it anymore. You just can't resurface anymore.

Our transit agencies have a $70 billion backlog to bring their existing systems up to a state of good repair--not to build new transit options for Americans, no--just to bring what we have up to a state of good repair.

Why are we here today? Because there are people on that side of the aisle who actually don't believe it is either the duty, obligation, or right of the Federal Government to invest in a national highway system, a national transportation system. They believe in devolution. Make the States do it.

We tried that. In the 1950s, Kansas built a brand-new turnpike. It ended at the Oklahoma border because Oklahoma ran out of money, and they didn't build it until the Eisenhower bill went through.

They want to go back to those good old days of the 1950s, when you couldn't even have roads that connected between States. That is nuts. It was bad in the middle of the last century, and it is nuts for the 21st century.

Are we just going to kick the can down the road again? If we pass this Republican proposal to continue the current anemic levels of funding until next May, that is not going to bring the States the certainty they need. It is not going to bring the industry the robust investment they need. It is not going to get us the jobs we need.

Yes, we will limp along until next May, and then there will be incredible uncertainty about the next construction season. There won't be major new projects planned. Nothing will happen. We need to resolve that this year.

We should stay here, as the gentleman from Oregon said, and resolve it this August. Five weeks, guys, and we can't get to this issue? Then you are going to kick it into next year? Better, at least, that we are confronted with it before the end of this year; then maybe we can get a robust funding source.

Maybe we can make the investments we need. Maybe we could give the [Page: H7175]

States the tools they need next construction season and the certainty they need next construction season to go forward.

1:48 PM EDT

Peter A. DeFazio, D-OR 4th

Mr. DeFAZIO. We just had a Standard & Poor's study. 29,000 jobs are created, and these are not just construction jobs. They are engineering jobs, technical jobs, and manufacturing jobs for the equipment that goes into this or the steel that goes into this. These are small business jobs with a small business set-aside.

We are foregoing an incredible stimulus to our economy, putting hundreds of thousands of Americans back to work or at work, building us yet again toward a world-class infrastructure.

It is just shameful this has been bipartisan forever. Washington, canals and highways; Lincoln, the transcontinental railroad; Eisenhower, the national highway system; and Ronald Reagan put transit into the national highway program--now, we are here limping along with yet another patch that isn't adequate, won't give us the recovery we need, and won't give us the transportation infrastructure we need to be competitive in the 21st century.

It is a very sad day. We should reject this proposal and get to work.

1:49 PM EDT

Dave Camp, R-MI 4th

Mr. CAMP. I thank the distinguished chairman for yielding.

Madam Speaker, the House passed their version of highway funding more than 2 weeks ago. The Senate acted last night. Because of their rush, there was actually a drafting error in the Senate version of the highway bill that either creates a $2 billion hole in the deficit or only funds the program through early October.

The House is not scheduled to be in session in October, so I would suggest to my friends that I think the best thing to do at this stage of the game is to accept this proposal and send the House bill back to the Senate, which does a couple of things: it certainly does not increase the deficit, as the Senate bill does, because of their mistake; but also, it gets us through May 31.

I have committed to the distinguished gentleman on the other side that the Ways and Means Committee will have a hearing on transportation funding in September when we return, but this gives us the time to look at the competing proposals to finance our infrastructure.

Those disagreements don't necessarily follow along partisan lines, as the previous speaker might have suggested. Not everybody agrees with the gas tax. Not everybody agrees with miles driven. Not everybody agrees with tolls. We are going to have to work through those alternatives and see what other proposals might be there to see where we can move forward.

I believe we can move forward in a bipartisan way on this issue because our infrastructure needs--I would agree with the previous speaker--are dire. They are important. We do need to move forward on a long-term funding bill, but if we don't get past October and if we don't do this today, August 1 is the day the contracts start ending. I think that would be completely irresponsible to allow that to begin to occur.

So let's have continuity in transportation projects and funding. Support the House bill. Send it back to the Senate. I am certain, given the mistake in their legislation, that will be accepted when it gets to the other side.

1:49 PM EDT

Dave Camp, R-MI 4th

Mr. CAMP. I thank the distinguished chairman for yielding.

Madam Speaker, the House passed their version of highway funding more than 2 weeks ago. The Senate acted last night. Because of their rush, there was actually a drafting error in the Senate version of the highway bill that either creates a $2 billion hole in the deficit or only funds the program through early October.

The House is not scheduled to be in session in October, so I would suggest to my friends that I think the best thing to do at this stage of the game is to accept this proposal and send the House bill back to the Senate, which does a couple of things: it certainly does not increase the deficit, as the Senate bill does, because of their mistake; but also, it gets us through May 31.

I have committed to the distinguished gentleman on the other side that the Ways and Means Committee will have a hearing on transportation funding in September when we return, but this gives us the time to look at the competing proposals to finance our infrastructure.

Those disagreements don't necessarily follow along partisan lines, as the previous speaker might have suggested. Not everybody agrees with the gas tax. Not everybody agrees with miles driven. Not everybody agrees with tolls. We are going to have to work through those alternatives and see what other proposals might be there to see where we can move forward.

I believe we can move forward in a bipartisan way on this issue because our infrastructure needs--I would agree with the previous speaker--are dire. They are important. We do need to move forward on a long-term funding bill, but if we don't get past October and if we don't do this today, August 1 is the day the contracts start ending. I think that would be completely irresponsible to allow that to begin to occur.

So let's have continuity in transportation projects and funding. Support the House bill. Send it back to the Senate. I am certain, given the mistake in their legislation, that will be accepted when it gets to the other side.

1:51 PM EDT

Earl Blumenauer, D-OR 3rd

Mr. BLUMENAUER. Madam Speaker, I deeply appreciate the comments of my good friend, the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, with whom I have enjoyed working for 8 years now on the committee. I appreciate his commitment that we will have a hearing on transportation finance in September. I welcome that.

I absolutely agree that people are all over the map. Some people want to get us out of the transportation system on a Federal level--devolution--some want more resources, some want just to limp along. I look forward to having that conversation, but I would just make three brief observations.

One is that it is true we are not scheduled to be in business in October. I think that, frankly, is wrong. I don't think we should recess to campaign when there are all these questions about transportation, and we could roll up our sleeves and actually be doing something. I, for one, would be happy to be here in October, working to avoid a cliff next May.

Second, there is a $2 billion drafting mistake on the part of the Senate. These things are not unforeseen or unexpected. We have had experience with them in the past. I am quite confident, in a matter of minutes, we could work with the Senate and put the right language in, and we would be able to avoid that problem.

Finally, we were committed to solving the problem for stakeholders in business, labor, local governments, State, transits, environmentalists, equipment manufacturers, a whole range of people would be happy if we would sit down and be able to fix the modest little technical problem and embrace what all but three Democrats voted for 2 weeks ago and what 79 Republicans and Democrats voted for in the Senate.

I appreciate what I have heard, and I look forward to working with the gentleman to see what progress we can make. I volunteer to be here in October with him.

1:51 PM EDT

Earl Blumenauer, D-OR 3rd

Mr. BLUMENAUER. Madam Speaker, I deeply appreciate the comments of my good friend, the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, with whom I have enjoyed working for 8 years now on the committee. I appreciate his commitment that we will have a hearing on transportation finance in September. I welcome that.

I absolutely agree that people are all over the map. Some people want to get us out of the transportation system on a Federal level--devolution--some want more resources, some want just to limp along. I look forward to having that conversation, but I would just make three brief observations.

One is that it is true we are not scheduled to be in business in October. I think that, frankly, is wrong. I don't think we should recess to campaign when there are all these questions about transportation, and we could roll up our sleeves and actually be doing something. I, for one, would be happy to be here in October, working to avoid a cliff next May.

Second, there is a $2 billion drafting mistake on the part of the Senate. These things are not unforeseen or unexpected. We have had experience with them in the past. I am quite confident, in a matter of minutes, we could work with the Senate and put the right language in, and we would be able to avoid that problem.

Finally, we were committed to solving the problem for stakeholders in business, labor, local governments, State, transits, environmentalists, equipment manufacturers, a whole range of people would be happy if we would sit down and be able to fix the modest little technical problem and embrace what all but three Democrats voted for 2 weeks ago and what 79 Republicans and Democrats voted for in the Senate.

I appreciate what I have heard, and I look forward to working with the gentleman to see what progress we can make. I volunteer to be here in October with him.

1:54 PM EDT

Bill Shuster, R-PA 9th

Mr. SHUSTER. Madam Speaker, I will conclude and yield myself the balance of my time.

In closing, I would like to reiterate my strong support of this motion. It strips the Senate amendments to H.R. 5021 and sends our original bill back to the Senate, which we passed 367-55.

Our bill is the responsible solution that ensures that we don't play politics with these programs and enables us to continue making improvement to our surface transportation system.

This course of action in no way precludes Congress from continuing to work on addressing a long-term funding solution and a long-term reauthorization bill, which remains a top priority for the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

I strongly urge all Members to support this motion. Let me be perfectly clear: a vote against this motion is a vote to shut down surface transportation projects and programs. The American people deserve better than that, and we can do better than that.

I urge all my colleagues to join me in support of this motion, and I yield back the balance of my time.