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Providing for Consideration of H.R. 1806, America Competes Reautorization Act of 2015; Providing for Consideration of H.R. 2250, Legislative Branch Appropriations Act, 2016; and Providing for Consideration of H.R. 2353, Highway and Transportation Funding Act of 2015

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. WELCH. I thank the gentleman for yielding.

Mr. Speaker, we need a surface transportation bill, but the last thing in the world we need is this bill, a 2-month extension.

If this short-term plan was a necessary step to get us to a long-term bill, that would make some sense; but, as speakers have noted, this is the 33rd time in the past 5 years where Congress has failed to provide long-term and sustainable funding for our surface transportation needs. This is a habit; it is not a plan.

Mr. Speaker, this bill follows on the heels of the bill we passed 9 months ago, and that was a 9-month extension of surface transportation paid for by ``pension smoothing.'' You can't make that up.

We lowered the obligation corporations pay to pensions in order to put money in the highway transportation fund. We created a pothole in pensions to fix potholes in the highways; it makes no sense, but now, we are here on a 2-month plan--a good job, Congress.

We were given some assurances that we would have a long-term bill. The fact of the matter is, Mr. Speaker, there are good long-term plans out there. Congressman Renacci has a plan, the President has a plan, as do Congressman Delaney and Congressman Blumenauer. There are policies out there. We don't need a policy debate. We need a decision.

The reality is we have got to make Congress work, do its job, and pass a long-term funding bill that is going to allow this country to modernize its airports, fix its bridges, make its railroads safer, and dredge our ports deeper.

We have to bring our 20th century infrastructure into the 21st century, and the only way we are going to get that done is by stepping up to the responsibility that we have to pass a long-term funding plan.

Mr. Speaker, I have indicated to the Speaker himself that it is a tough job putting a bill on the floor. It always is tough when Congress has to pull the trigger on what that revenue source is going to be.

I will support any plan that is reasonable and sustainable. The only plan I won't support is no revenue plan at all.

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