Mariel Saez, 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC - House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) spoke on the House Floor today on House Republicans’ Highway Trust Fund bill, and urged House Republicans to work with Democrats on a sustainable, long-term fix to the Highway Trust Fund. Below are his remarks and a link to the video:
Click here to watch the video.
“There's some good news. The good news is that this Committee is chaired by someone who wants to invest in America, grow jobs, and expand our economy. I speak of my friend, Bill Shuster, and I thank him for that. The other good news is that our ranking Democrat, Nick Rahall, has a history of making sure America invested in its infrastructure.
“The bad news is this bill does not give what Mrs. [Shelley Moore] Capito suggests it gives, and that is certainty. It gives a temporary, inadequate response to what is a long-term problem. I won't ask him the question, but I believe that Mr. Shuster absolutely agrees with me. We ought to find a fiscally sustainable funding source for our infrastructure and highway system.
“Mr. Speaker, well-maintained highway infrastructure supports the growth of our economy and creates good jobs. That's what I’ve been advocating for - a long-term, sustainable fix that makes investments in our roads and bridges and provides certainty that needed repairs will be completed. I'm for a big deal – not just certainty in infrastructure but certainty in the investment in our economy. I will continue to advocate that.
“This bill, unfortunately, does not do that. It is better than doing nothing, but it does not do what we need to do. In fact, by implementing a short-term fix, only until May, this bill promotes uncertainty for construction firms and other businesses that rely on projects paid for by the Highway Trust Fund, which supports American jobs. It also, Mr. Speaker, puts Congress in the position of having to deal with this issue next May, as next year's summer construction season is about to begin without any certainty of what we will do.
“Democrats would prefer to work with Republicans to pass a long-term fix now – or, if we cannot do that, reauthorize it for a few months so that we return to this issue after the November elections and pass a long-term fix. But we cannot take the risk of allowing this fund to run dry this summer.
“The Highway Trust Fund supports the infrastructure improvements that enable manufacturers to move their products to market faster and help attract businesses and jobs from overseas. It helps us to Make It In America – manufacture it, grow it, sell it – here and around the world. If we allow it to go broke, our economy could lose as many as 700,000 jobs, according to the Department of Transportation.
“This bill, I think, will get some support – some significant support – on our side of the aisle. But not because it is our choice. Not because it is the right way to go. And, in my view, as I said, I don't want to hurt him with his party or with anybody outside of this Chamber, but I think Mr. Shuster agrees we need a long-term solution.
“So I urge my colleagues to work together in a bipartisan fashion to get a long-term, confidence-building resolution of this stop-and-jerk or go-and-jerk funding process that we are adopting. And I thank the Gentleman for yielding me the time and yield back the balance of my time.”