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Blumenauer will offer amendment to Rules Committee for Highway Trust Fund

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (OR-03) released the following statement today:

I wanted to take a moment to reach out to you about the likely vote to extend the life of the Highway Trust Fund tomorrow.

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As is often the case, the arguments of the moment and the differences between the likely House and Senate bills tend to focus on smaller issues that are part of the contest, but obscure the underlying major concerns left unaddressed. In the House, the two issues that fueled my opposition to the current bill had less to do with the details of the funding than its duration. 

The first is that an extended bailout getting the Highway Trust Fund into the middle of next year has profound consequences.   By sliding into next year there is little or no focus on the consequences of the GOP budget and policy approach. Locking in the current funding level will result in no new project funding for the next fiscal year and a 30% reduction in funding over the next decade. This battle about the scale of funding and the role the federal government will play is occurring by inaction, but nonetheless is starting to capture some attention.

The second issue is whether there is any hope of Congress even starting serious work on a 6 year reauthorization and funding it, let alone finishing it this year. There is a broad, diverse coalition ranging from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to construction and builders’ unions, local government, contactors, and more, who manage, depend upon, build, or operate infrastructure. They uniformly oppose sliding into next year.  They know delaying a tough, complex, and controversial issue for the 114th Congress is an invitation to delay it not just to the 115th Congress, but to the next administration, and beyond; continuing a pattern of delay and uncertainty that has plagued the transportation system for over a decade.

It’s my intention to offer an amendment to the Rules Committee Monday afternoon and carry the debate to the House floor and all of the venues available to us.  I would be happy to discuss this further because, as important as the details are between the House and the Senate, the most important is what the federal government is actually going to do with transportation funding in the long run and if we have any hope of doing it before we adjourn for the year.

Sincerely,

Earl Blumenauer

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Posted by on Jul 14 2014. Filed under Latest News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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