|00:00:00||CONGRESS HAS ENACTED NINE SEPARATE SURFACE TRANSPORTATION EXTENSION ACTS, ALLOWING US TO CONTINUE TO LIMP ALONG, PATCHING OUR NATION'S SURFACE TRANSPORTATION SYSTEMS.|
|00:00:12||THESE SHORT-TERM START AND STOP SURFACE TRANSPORTATION EXTENSION ACTS ARE UNDERMINING OUR SURFACE TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM.|
|00:00:19||RUNNING THESE PROGRAMS THROUGH SHORT-TERM EXTENSIONS CREATES TREMENDOUS UNCERTAINTY AMONG PUBLIC TRANSIT AGENCIES AND HIGHWAY AND TRANSIT CONTRACTORS THAT DELAY CRITICAL HIGHWAY AND TRANSIT PROJECTS, COSTING GOOD-PAYING JOBS EACH STEP OF THE WAY.|
|00:00:36||WITH MORE THAN 2.|
|00:00:38||5 MILLION CONSTRUCTION AND MANUFACTURING WORKERS STILL OUT OF WORK, IT IS PAR PAST TIME FOR CONGRESS TO ENACT -- FAR PAST TIME FOR CONGRESS TO ENACT SURFACE TRANSPORTATION ACT, CREATE AND SUSTAIN FAMILY WAGE JOBS AND RESTORE OUR NATION'S ECONOMIC GROWTH.|
|00:00:53||THAT'S WHY I OFFER THIS MOTION TODAY.|
|00:00:55||WE HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY BEFORE US TO MOVE QUICKLY, TO PASS LEGISLATION THAT CAN REMOVE THIS UNCERTAINTY AND GET AMERICA BACK TO WORK.|
|00:01:04||OVER A MONTH AGO, THE SENATE PASSED S.|
|00:01:09||1813, KNOWN AS MAP-21, BY AN OVERWHELMINGLY BIPARTISAN VOTE OF 74-22.|
|00:01:16||NOW, EACH OF US IN THIS BODY KNOW HOW DIFFICULT IT IS FOR THE OTHER BODY TO AGREE ON JUST ABOUT ANYTHING.|
|00:01:24||BUT UNLIKE THE HOUSE, THE SENATE WAS ABLE TO COME TOGETHER TO PASS BIPARTISAN LEGISLATION THAT WILL PROVIDE STATES WITH THE CERTAINTY THAT THEY NEED TO MOVE FORWARD WITH HIGHWAY AND TRANSIT PROJECTS AND GET AMERICANS BACK TO WORK.|
|00:01:38||IT IS TIME FOR THE HOUSE, BELIEVE IT OR NOT, TO FOLLOW THE OTHER BODY'S LEAD AND PASS S.|
|00:01:48||1813 IS NOT THE EXACT BILL I WOULD HAVE WRITTEN.|
|00:01:51||HOWEVER, THE SENATE BILL IS A DRAMATIC IMPROVEMENT OVER WHAT HOUSE REPUBLICANS PROPOSE IN THEIR NOW-DEAD PARTISAN RE-AUTHORIZATION, KNOWN AS H.|
|00:02:00||R. 7, WHICH WAS REPORTED BY THE TRANSPORTATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE COMMITTEE BUT NEVER ACTED UPON BY THE FULL HOUSE.|
|00:02:07||LAST WEEK IN AN EFFORT TO FACILITATE A CONFERENCE WITH THE SENATE ON MAP-21, THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES PASSED H.|
|00:02:14||R. 4348, ANOTHER SURFACE TRANSPORTATION EXTENSION BILL.|
|00:02:17||I SUPPORTED THE HOUSE PASSAGE OF H.|
|00:02:21||R. 4348 AS A VEHICLE TO GO TO CONFERENCE ON THE SENATE BILL.|
|00:02:25||I SAID THEN THAT TAKING REPUBLICANS AT THEIR WORD THAT THEY ARE SERIOUS ABOUT MOVING THIS PROCESS FORWARD, PASSAGE OF THAT SHORT-TERM EXTENSION BILL WOULD ALLOW US TO QUICKLY CONVENE A CONFERENCE WITH THE SENATE ON ITS BIPARTISAN, MULTIYEAR SURFACE TRANSPORTATION RE-AUTHORIZATION BILL WHICH PASSED WITH THE SUPPORT OF 3/4 OF THE OTHER BODY.|
|00:02:46||A LONG-TERM BILL WOULD PROVIDE THE CERTAINTY THAT STATES NEED TO INVEST AND PROCEED WITH THEIR PLANS ON THE BOOKS.|
|00:02:53||IT WILL PROVIDE THE CERTAINTY THAT HIGHWAY AND TRANSIT CONTRACTERS THE CONFIDENCE TO HIRE ONE MORE WORKER.|
|00:03:02||THAT'S WHAT SURFACE TRANSPORTATION IS ALL ABOUT, PUTTING AMERICANS BACK TO WORK AND SUSTAINING OUR ECONOMIC COMPETITIVENESS.|
|00:03:11||IF THERE ARE ISSUES WE MUST CHANGE WE CAN ADDRESS THOSE THROUGH A TECHNICAL CORRECTIONS BILL THAT WILL MAKE THE NECESSARY POSITIVE CHANGES TO IMPROVE THE BILL.|
|00:03:19||THAT'S DONE -- THAT IS NOT UNPRECEDENTED.|
|00:03:22||WE'VE DONE IT BEFORE.|
|00:03:23||THERE'S NOTHING TO PREVENT THE CONGRESS FROM ENACTING S.|
|00:03:26||1813, AND THEN CONTINUING TO WORK TO DEVELOP FURTHER BICAMERAL, BIPARTISAN CHANGES TO IMPROVE SURFACE TRANSPORTATION POLICIES.|
|00:03:38||BUT AMERICAN WORKERS SHOULD NOT HAVE TO WAIT ANY LONGER AS CONGRESS SEARCHES FOR AN AGREEMENT.|
|00:03:44||THE TIME FOR POLITICAL GAMES IS OVER.|
|00:03:47||MY MOTION IS SIMPLE.|
|00:03:50||IT INSTRUCTS HOUSE CONFEREES TO AGREE TO THE SENATE BILL.|
|00:03:55||ENACTMENT OF MAP-21 WILL PLACE 18 MONTHS WORTH OF FUNDING, PROVIDE STATES D.|
|00:04:04||O.T.'S AND SURFACE TRANSPORTATION AGENCIES CONTRACTS AND PROVIDES CONTRACTORS THE CERTAINTY TO HIRE ONE MORE WORKER.|
|00:04:12||OUT-OF-WORK AMERICANS SIMPLY CANNOT WAIT ANY LONGER.|
|00:04:14||I RESERVE THE BALANCE OF MY TIME.|
|00:04:16||THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE: THE GENTLEMAN FROM WEST VIRGINIA RESERVES HIS TIME.|
|00:04:19||THE GENTLEMAN FROM FLORIDA.|
|00:04:20||MR. MICA: MADAM SPEAKER, I RISE IN OPPOSITION TO THE|
Mr. RAHALL. Madam Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Madam Speaker, the long-term authorization of surface transportation programs expired on September 30, 2009. Since that time, Congress has enacted nine separate Surface Transportation Extension Acts, allowing us to continue limping along, patching together our Nation's surface transportation system. These short-term, start-and-stop Surface Transportation Extension Acts are undermining our surface transportation system.
Running these programs through short-term extensions creates tremendous uncertainty among State departments of transportation, public transit agencies, and highway and transit contractors that delay critical highway and transit projects, costing good-paying jobs each step of the way.
With more than 2.5 million construction and manufacturing workers still out of work, it is far past time for Congress to enact surface transportation legislation that will remove this uncertainty, create and sustain family-wage jobs, and restore our Nation's economic growth.
That's why I offer this motion today. We have an opportunity before us to move quickly to pass legislation that can remove this uncertainty and get America back to work.
Over a month ago, the Senate passed S. 1813, known as MAP 21, by an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote of 74 22. Now, each of us in this body knows how difficult it is for the other body to agree on just about anything. But, unlike the House, the Senate was able to come together to pass bipartisan legislation that will provide States with the certainty that they need to move forward with highway and transit projects and get Americans back to work. It is time for the House, believe it or not, to follow the other body's lead and pass S. 1813.
Certainly, S. 1813 is not the exact bill that I would have written. However, the Senate bill is a dramatic improvement over what House Republicans proposed in their now-dead partisan reauthorization bill known as H.R. 7, which was reported by the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, but never acted upon by the full House.
Last week, in an effort to facilitate a conference with the Senate on MAP 21, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 4348, another surface transportation extension bill. I supported the House passage of H.R. 4348 as a vehicle to go to conference on the Senate bill.
I said then--taking Republicans at their word that they are serious about moving this process forward--passage of that short-term extension bill would allow us to quickly convene a conference with the Senate on its bipartisan, multiyear surface transportation reauthorization bill, which passed with the support of three-quarters of the other body.
A long-term bill will provide the certainty that States need to invest and proceed with their plans long on the books. It will provide the certainty that highway and transit contractors desperately need to give them the confidence to hire that one more worker. That is what surface transportation is all about, putting Americans back to work and sustaining our economic competitiveness.
If there are issues that we must change, we can address those through a technical corrections bill that will make the necessary policy changes to improve the bill. That is not unprecedented. We've done it before.
There is nothing to prevent the Congress from enacting S. 1813 and then continuing to work to develop further bicameral, bipartisan changes to further improve surface transportation programs and policies. But American workers should not have to wait any longer as Congress searches for agreement. The time for political games is over.
So my motion is simple, very simple. It instructs House conferees to agree to the Senate bill. Enactment of MAP 21 will put in place 18 months worth of funding, provide state DOTs and public transit agencies the certainty they need to advance projects, and provide contractors the certainty they need to hire that one more worker. Out-of-work Americans simply cannot wait any longer.
I reserve the balance of my time.