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Public Statements

Providing for Consideration of H.R. 4348, Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2012, Part II

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Ms. BROWN of Florida. Mr. Speaker, I would encourage every Member to defeat the previous question so we can end this legislative circus and bring the bipartisan Senate transportation bill to the floor.

Our Nation's infrastructure is at a critical juncture, and the traveling public and men and women who build our roads and rails don't have time for the games that the Republicans are playing with this bill.

The Republican ``my way or the highway'' attitude is not how we should legislate. Transportation has always been a nonpartisan issue, but that has changed since the new Republican leadership took control of the House. In just 2 years, the Republican leadership has ruined a process that used to be bipartisan from a committee that used to be bipartisan. I think Secretary LaHood said it best when he said that this bill that the Republicans are bringing to the floor is the worst bill he has seen in 35 years.

We are in danger of letting our transportation system fall into total despair, slowing the economy even further and putting the traveling public in harm's way.

The American Society for Civil Engineers give America a D grade in infrastructure quality and has estimated $2.2 trillion is needed to bring our Nation's infrastructure to good repair. Transportation for America reports that there are 69,000 structurally deficient bridges nationwide. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce said the Nation will lose $336 billion in economic growth over the next 5 years due to inadequate infrastructure. The World Economic Forum ranks the United States of America 24th in infrastructure quality.

We are the world's largest superpower and we should never be ranked 24th in anything.

The Senate amendment that was offered by the Democratic leadership on the committee would fund 2 million jobs every year, provide continued dedicated funding for public transit, streamline project permitting in a responsible way, strengthen Buy America requirements, increase funding for safety programs, and--let me emphasize--is fully paid for.

Transportation and infrastructure funding is absolutely critical to this Nation and, if properly funded, serves as a tremendous economic engine to job creation. The Department of Transportation statistics show that for every $1 billion we invest in transportation, it generates 44,000 permanent jobs.

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Ms. BROWN of Florida. Again, I would encourage every Member to vote ``no'' on the previous question. All we're asking for is an up-or-down vote on the Senate bill.

When I was a kid, we used to say, ``I dare you.'' I double dare you, my Republicans. Bring the bill to the floor for an up-or-down vote.

I heard someone on the floor yesterday talking about the Senate, that we need to do away with the Senate. I now thank God for the United States Senate, because they are behaving very responsibly. They passed a bill with over 80 percent of the Members voting for a bipartisan transportation bill. That's what we've always had in the 20 years I've been on the committee.

Let's pick up that Senate bill. Let's pass it, send it on to the President to create jobs, and let's see what happens at the next election.

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