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Public Statements

Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2012

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Ms. LANDRIEU. Reserving the right to object.


Ms. LANDRIEU. And I might object, because I think this is a very serious matter. I am reserving the right to object because, as the majority leader well knows, if we would follow Senator Boxer's leadership, sending the Senate bill back to the House, we would not only not lose any jobs, we would create 1.9 million jobs, and for the Restore Act, which is very important to the gulf coast, it would create another 300,000 jobs.

The only action that is going to cause job loss is the action we are basically being forced to accept right now, sent over by a partisan House of Representatives, to go to another short-term extension. This country doesn't need short-term extensions, it needs long-term answers, and it needs jobs they can count on.

Every business in America relies on this Transportation bill. We have now been going to short-term extensions for 3 years. It is time to stop.

I want my leader, who is on the Senate floor, to know I may object in the next few minutes, but I absolutely will object to any other short-term resolution on this bill for as long as this Congress is in session. This is enough.

Now, had this bill gotten out of here with just Democrats on it, I would say we don't have a leg to stand on because we don't have a balanced bill, and we can't jam this through on the other side. But this bill got out of here with 75 or 76 votes. Now, 2 years is not 5 years, but it is better than 3 months. It is a bill we could pass and build on. It is a bill that assures people can go to sleep tonight knowing they have a job tomorrow.

So I object to the minority leader's comments about this bill, that our action is going to lose jobs. No, we have been here working hard to save jobs. I hope when the Republicans go home they will hear from the business community, from the right, the middle, and the left; I hope they will hear from environmental groups: What are you guys doing?

The final comment I want to make as I am objecting is, if the House had a bill, then this would be a negotiation between two bills. The problem is they don't even have a bill. How do we negotiate with a group that doesn't have a bill? They have ideas, they have philosophies, they have platforms, and they have speeches, but they don't have a bill. We couldn't negotiate with them if we wanted to. There is no bill.

This is why we are telling the country: Look, we don't know what their problem is--they have many--but we have a bill. So if they can't get their bill together, take the one we put together. But, no, that is too simple for them.

So I am reserving the right to object. I am going to listen to what my leader has to say, and I might object. I know everybody wants to go home. I know we want to have this unanimous consent agreement. But my State not only has its transportation money wrapped up in this, it has its hope for the future wrapped up because the Restore Act is in that bill.

For the first time, this Senate stood up since I have been here and said: You are right, gulf coast. You do a lot. You have been injured a lot, and we are going to help you. So that bill is in there too, which is why I am hard-pressed to say I will vote for a 90-day extension.

So reserving the right to object, I ask unanimous consent the request be modified so an amendment, which is at the desk, the text of S. 1813, the surface transportation bill, passed by the Senate on March 14, 2012, by a large bipartisan majority of 74 to 22 be agreed to; the bill, as amended, be read a third time and passed; and the motion to reconsider be laid upon the table.


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