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Public Statements

Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2012, Part II

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. COHEN. Mr. Chairman, last week in Memphis, I met with dozens of transportation, business, and civic officials involved in transportation. Every one of them said, stop the partisan politics and pass a transportation bill.

Secretary Ray LaHood, a Republican who served 12 years in this House and 17 years as the chief of staff to Bob Michel, one of the great Members of this group, came to Memphis. He said, Pass the transportation bill. And he said the reason they don't want to do it is they don't want to give President Obama any jobs because they want to beat President Obama, and the American people don't matter. That's the fact. The Secretary said this is the worst transportation bill he's ever seen, and he said it shouldn't be politicized.

Transportation leaders across the country and our Republican Transportation Secretary are begging us to take up the Senate bill, get it passed, put Americans back to work, and improve our infrastructure.

What's going on here is political. Gas prices are soaring, yes, but that's because of trouble in the Middle East, and that's because of oil speculators. It's not because of the Keystone XL pipeline. That is hooey. Domestic oil prices are set by the international market, and more and more emerging economies are wanting and needing oil. That causes the price to go up.

This assertion, the assertion that gas will go down because of the pipeline, is false. In fact, if the pipeline is completed, gas prices will go up in this country, and TransCanada said that in their papers when they tried to get the pipeline approved.

This will not mean more energy security. It will simply mean more money for international oil companies whose purpose is to raise money for themselves, and they're going to ship that oil overseas. It's not for American consumption.

Yeah, they're not Middle Eastern, yeah, they're not Venezuelan, but they're making profit, and they're going to send that oil overseas. It won't help America at all. And then they threw in something about coal ash, coal ash rules that the EPA had that would have prevented a disaster like what happened in Tennessee. It has nothing to do with transportation. Put America back to work. Pass the Senate bill.

Mr. MICA. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself 1 1/2 minutes.

Let me just say I heard repeated here some things about what the Secretary said, and he did not have favorable comments about H.R. 7. So we've tried to bring something forward that would bring us to passing a bill and get people to work and get this resolved. And then today the Secretary said that the Congress would not pass a multiyear bill, instead of saying he'd work with us and be a leader to do that.

Then the Secretary went on to say, look what they've loaded it up with--speaking about this bill today--Keystone, coal ash, none of it has anything to do with transportation.

Well, first of all, I guess it's difficult for the Secretary to understand that energy costs and the pain at the pump are killing the consumer and impacting dramatically the American people. Keystone does have something to do with that. I guess if you have a chauffeur pick you up in the morning and you're not pumping the gas yourself and taking the money out of your pocket, you wouldn't understand the relevance of Keystone.

And then coal ash, which was just referred to here by the gentleman, it makes our surface more durable and we save money----

Mr. COHEN. Will the gentleman yield?

Mr. MICA. I will not yield, and I don't like being interrupted, especially when I have a good point.

Mr. COHEN. That's a rare time.


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