With Speaker Boehner and Reps. Mica and Hastings set to discuss a long-term surface transportation bill at a press conference this morning, we here in the Democratic Whip Press Shop wanted to offer up a few suggested questions to pose for the lawmakers:
1.) After 11 months in the majority, why have Republicans still not come up with a comprehensive jobs plan?
2.) If Republicans are focused on infrastructure as you claim, why did Senate Republicans block a bill that contained provisions of the American Jobs Act that would have invested in infrastructure and created jobs?
3.) Can this plan actually pass the Senate?
4.) Would questionable revenues from new oil and gas leases off of our shores actually bring in enough money to fully support the highway trust fund?
5.) Do all of the areas you are leasing actually produce scorable revenue? Since it is doubtful that the package you’ve outlined will bring in enough money to support the Highway Trust Fund for a full 6 year authorization, how will you meet our infrastructure needs while at the same time fulfilling our obligations to the Land and Water Conservation Fund? And what about giving at least 50% of receipts from Arctic drilling to the State of Alaska, and more than 37% to coastal states? Do your numbers add up?
6.) Several previous Congress’ have tried unsuccessfully to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for drilling. Why would this time be any different?
7.) Did you consider repealing the $32 billion in tax breaks that the major players in the oil and gas industry receive and directing those savings to the Highway Trust Fund? Would it not be in the self-interest of the oil and gas industry to willingly forego its costly tax breaks and have the proceeds invested in roads, bridges, and tunnels that cars and trucks, fueled by their products, use?
8.) With this Congress’ failure to enact any meaningful drilling safety reforms in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, how will you ensure the safety of the new drilling you propose so close to Florida’s Gulf Coast?