Today, Congressman Tim Walz voted to put millions of Americans back to work and give students and middle class families' peace of mind by supporting the bipartisan Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21). The bill represents a bipartisan agreement on a new 2 year highway bill and allows the current low-interest rate for student loans to remain in place. Without the measure, transportation projects would cease and interest rates on student loans would double on July 1, 2012.
Last week, after negotiations on a new highway bill stalled, Walz introduced a motion that instructed the Transportation Conference Committee to resolve their differences and bring forward a new, bipartisan bill that would repair our crumbling roads and bridges and create American jobs. His motion passed by an overwhelming bipartisan vote of 386-34.
"Compromise and common purpose is the glue that holds us together," said Walz. "This shows what's possible when we set our partisan differences aside and work together to solve problems. This bill will work to create American jobs, rebuild our crumbling roads and bridges, and give certainty to local small business owners and construction workers. I'm pleased the Conferees put their partisan differences aside and brought forward this bipartisan highway bill."
As a teacher and parent, Walz also understands the importance of a world class education and knows this extension of the student loan interest rate offers peace of mind for students and middle class Americans everywhere.
"The path to the American Dream runs through college campuses across this nation," said Walz. "As teacher and a parent, I know how critical a high-quality education is to our country's economic future and I also know how much anxiety middle class families feel about the rising cost of college. While this bill will work to repair our roads and bridges, it will also give peace of mind to students and middle class families by keeping interest rates on student loans low."
Background on Walz's Work Passing Bipartisan Transportation Bill
The new 2 year Transportation Bill will create or save 3 million American jobs and give local small businesses, construction workers, and communities the certainty they need to plan for the future. A timeline of events from before Walz introduced his bill pushing for bipartisan agreement, to the passage of the bill in the House is below.
Monday, June 18 2012, negotiations on a new bill were at a standstill and there was little hope that a deal for a new transportation bill would be reached.
Tuesday, June 19, 2012,Congressman Walz introduced a bill with a simple message to the Transportation Conference Committee: set aside your partisan differences and get the work done. He rallied support for his motion from both Republicans and Democrats on the House floor.
Wednesday, June 20, 2012, Congressman Walz's bill passed the House with an overwhelming bipartisan vote of 386-34.
Thursday, June 21, 2012, After rallying both sides of the aisle to get the work done, progress was made. Transportation leadership from both the Senate and the House released a statement touting progress.
Thursday, June 28, 2012, Announcement is made that a new transportation deal has been reached. MAP-21 will support 3 million American jobs and work to rebuild and repair our crumbling infrastructure.
Friday, June 29, 2012, The bipartisan MAP-21 passed the U.S. House by a vote of 373-52, one day before the current transportation bill is set to expire on June 30.