At a press conference in front of the U.S. Capitol today, U.S. Senator Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., joined U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, in urging House Republicans to stop standing in the way of passing the transportation bill. The Senate passed a two-year transportation bill back in March with a strong bipartisan vote of 74-22 and a House-Senate Conference Committee is now working on a deal. But House Republicans are refusing to negotiate in good faith and have been stalling the process -- even taking a week-long recess despite the objections of House Democratic leadership. Sen. Landrieu called on House negotiators to do what is right for the American people and work with their Senate counterparts to pass a conference report on a two-year transportation bill before the current extension expires on June 30.
"If House Republicans are concerned about falling job numbers, they should be grabbing this bill and running it to the Speaker's desk to pass it, because this is, in essence, a jobs bill. It will put hundreds of thousands of people to work. So we are a little confused as to why the Republicans in the House are sitting on their hands while jobs are being lost," Sen. Landrieu said. "In addition to the basic transportation infrastructure that is in this bill, there's also the RESTORE Act, which will put the Gulf Coast back to work. It passed on the floor of the Senate with 76 votes. It will create, in addition to the jobs in the underlying transportation bill, new jobs all along the Gulf Coast from Texas to Florida. This is a bipartisan bill with one of the most liberal Senators and one of the most conservative Senators in agreement -- if they can compromise to do what's best for the American people, surely the U.S. House can find a path forward too."