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Conference Report on H.R. 4348, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mrs. CAPITO. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and ranking member and the conference committee, for what I think is a victory today. I think this reauthorization bill is one of the most important responsibilities we have. It's a jobs bill. It will bring efficiencies to our funding stream for very important projects, and it will remove a lot of uncertainty.

As a member of this committee, I'm really, really pleased that we were able to come to a compromise. The efficiencies and the streamlining, when the chairman brought the committee to Yeager Airport, that was one of the resounding complaints about current funding in the transportation sector is it takes too long, it's too expensive, and time is money. And we can do a lot better job with more efficiencies and make our dollars go farther. And with hard deadlines and some exemptions, I think that this bill will do that.

There are a couple of provisions in here that I regret were not included, and most specifically, the provision on the coal ash provision. I mean, we're looking at a time where we have scant resources. We have to make smart decisions about how to weave the balance between our environment and our economy; and the coal ash provision would have provided, I think, the certainty to the construction industry and to those surrounding, also, the coal industry that smart use and responsible use of coal ash would be in our future.

Unfortunately--and I believe it occurred in the Senate that that provision was not included in our bill, and I'm deeply disappointed by that. But we will, as an energy State and as energy representatives, we'll live to fight another day.

Additionally, I would like to say, as a member of the Financial Services Committee as well, the reason that the flood bill is on this bill is extremely important, again, to lend the certainty to lenders, Realtors, homebuilders, and really, the consumer that we can get that housing market moving again; and the certainty provided by the reauthorization of the flood bill in here will provide us with that.

But I simply want to say that I think that in a bicameral, bipartisan way we moved together to show folks in West Virginia and across this Nation that we can work together to create the jobs that we need in the sectors that we need, and I look forward to supporting the bill.

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Mrs. CAPITO. Madam Speaker, I am pleased to see that H.R. 4348 includes pension reform provisions that will allow businesses to invest more to create jobs, while generating over $9 billion in Treasury revenue over the next 10 years. H.R. 4348's pension reforms are critical to help businesses create jobs in a struggling economy.

However, I am concerned these vital reforms will be incomplete if financial reporting requirements known as Generally Accepted Accounting Principles do not conform to H.R. 4348's changes in law. H.R. 4348 does not provide a deadline to adjust these financial reporting requirements to match the bill's pension reforms.

We should expect prompt harmonization between the law and how pension obligations are reported on companies' financial statements. If there is not harmonization many company balance sheets will be required to show inflated liabilities that H.R. 4348's pension reforms seek to address.

The clear policy of H.R. 4348 is that pension funding be calculated by a more stable, long-term method. I expect, and Congress should expect, that financial reporting requirements conform with Congress's clear intent on this issue. Financial statements should be consistent with the rate stabilization set forth in this legislation.

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