WASHINGTON, DC –Congressman Steny H. Hoyer (MD-5) spoke on the House Floor today in support of a sixty-day extension of the Highway Trust Fund, while urging the House to pass a long-term surface transportation bill that will give American businesses the confidence they need to invest in infrastructure and grow the economy. Below is a transcript of his remarks and a link to the video.
Click here to watch the video.
“Mr. Speaker, let me thank Mr. [Pete] DeFazio for yielding and for the work that he does on this Committee. Let me also say to the Chairman of the Committee, Mr. [Bill] Shuster, how pleased I am at the kind of work that he does on the Committee. Very frankly, Mr. Shuster is committed to getting things done and to working in a bipartisan fashion, and that's good for this House, and it's good for his state, and it's good for the country. I thank him for his leadership.
“I rise in support of this sixty-day extension, because it's essential that we do this. The consequences of not doing it would be very, very negative. But I also rise to lament the fact that we have gone ten months knowing full well that this date was upon us and that, theoretically we thought, that funding as well as authorization would end on the 31st of this month. We have now found that funding will not end. This bill is necessary to authorize, not to fund, because funding is available for the next sixty days from [May] 31st.
“But I also rise to urge this House under the leadership of Mr. Shuster and Mr. DeFazio to do the work we were sent here to do: to invest in America; to invest in the growth of our economy; to invest in the creation of jobs. To do, in fact, what the board of directors of the greatest country on the face of this Earth ought to have done many years – and certainly months – ago.
“I am absolutely convinced that this House has the capacity, the intellect, and the ability to, in sixty days from now or within sixty days, come to this Floor with a bill that will invest in our infrastructure and provide sufficient funds to make America competitive and to pay for it. Not to pass the expense along to future generations – my children, my grandchildren, my great-grandchildren. They are going to have to buy for themselves the infrastructure of their generation, and they ought not to have to pay the bills of our generation. It is a moral responsibility that this generation pay for the investments that it needs to make in the infrastructure that will be used today and tomorrow.
“Mr. Shuster, I know, wants to do that. Mr. Shuster and Mr. DeFazio have the courage to do that. The issue is going to be whether this body and both sides of the aisle come forward with a responsible, paid-for infrastructure bill, particularly for highways and roads and bridges but other investment as well.
“I want to tell Mr. Shuster and Mr. DeFazio that I will work closely with you. That I will urge the Members on my side of the aisle to work closely, Mr. Shuster, with the Members on your side of the aisle, to effect this end. But let us not pretend that we can extend until December 31 on July 30, or to a year from then. Let us commit ourselves today to using the next sixty – actually seventy days, approximately – to come up with a paid-for, six-year reauthorization that will make America stronger, grow our economy, and be a pride of the American people whom we serve.”