The end of this month brings with it the expiration of two very important pieces of legislation--the Transportation Reauthorization extension and the College Cost Reduction Act. Congress must not allow either of these pieces of legislation to expire. It must put partisan politics aside and address both of these issues before the July 1st deadline.
The Transportation Reauthorization Bill provides discretionary resources for the purpose of funding local road projects, Interstates, highways, and state highway departments. It funds the investments necessary to strengthen our economy and our middle class, create jobs, and rebuild America.
At a time when fifty percent of our roads are in disrepair, and 70,000 bridges are structurally deficient, reauthorizing a transportation bill will allow us to construct new roads and highways and make much-needed improvements and repairs to our current infrastructure that our communities so desperately need. It would also help our economy here at home by offering more certainty, creating jobs for the construction of these projects, and providing economic opportunities for the future.
Funding our country's transportation needs has long been a bipartisan effort; however, Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle are politicizing this very important issue. I hope that Congress will come together, compromise, and pass a bipartisan long-term bill for the American people before the deadline. Our country cannot afford to prolong the creation of jobs and infrastructure development with any more short-term extensions. It isn't responsible and it only stands in the way of our continued economic recovery.
Members of Congress must also come together to pass legislation to prevent student loan interest rates from doubling on July 1st. In 2007 I voted for and helped pass H.R. 2669, the College Cost Reduction and Access Act, which originally cut student loan interest rates in half, and I support maintaining these low interest rates for struggling students trying to realize the American dream of earning a college education. Congress must act to ensure these rates do not increase on July 1st, but it must be done responsibly and without partisan games.
Our continued economic recovery is directly tied to the education of our children and this increase would raise the overall cost of education for American students and families when many are still struggling. It is more important than ever that our nation's young people have a quality education and I believe every American student deserves the opportunity to attend college as affordably as possible.
I firmly believe, and always have, that if we are ever going to truly prepare our young people to compete in this new global economy, then we must ensure they have access to a world class education and I will continue to support fiscally responsible legislation that gives American students the edge and the resources they need to succeed. It's time for all Members of Congress, on both sides of the aisle, to put down their partisan talking points and work together to do the same.
The Transportation Reauthorization Bill and the College Cost Reduction Act are key pieces of legislation that benefit our entire society. With just a few legislative days left before their expiration, Congress must get to work. As the Congressman for the Fourth Congressional District of Arkansas, I will continue to be a moderating voice and encourage both sides to come together to get the job done for the American people.