Senate Moves into Final Stretch on Bipartisan Highway Bill
‘Jobs are on the line. Infrastructure projects important to the people we represent are on the line. So we have to get it done. And with cooperation, we can ensure that more ideas from both sides of the aisle are still heard and voted upon.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made the following remarks on the Senate floor today regarding the bipartisan highway bill:
“Our country needs a multi-year highway bill, and we’re close to finally passing a fiscally responsible and bipartisan one.
“Time is running short to get a bill through Congress. But, as with most legislation, we still intend to consider some amendments from both sides of the aisle as we continue our work to pass it.
“We’ll start on that today.
“Most important is a proposal that would repeal Obamacare and allow our country to start over fresh with real health reform. There’s no question that I’ll be voting for it. There’s no question that every Senator should join me in doing so, too. This is a law filled with higher costs, fewer choices, and broken promises. This is a law that’s failed repeatedly, and that continues to hammer hardworking middle-class families. The vote we’ll take this afternoon presents a stark choice to every Senator: Protect a President who likes a law with his name on it, or stand with the middle class by finally opening the way to truly affordable care.
“Another proposal relates to the Export-Import Bank. I’ll be voting against it. The Export-Import Bank is a New Deal relic that has outlived any usefulness it might have had. If a project is worthy, private banks will step in to finance it. And if it is not worthy, we should definitely not be financing it by putting American taxpayers on the hook. Either way, Ex-Im is not necessary.
“At the same time, I understand that many senators on both sides take a different view. Nearly half my Conference and many Democrats support the Ex-Im Bank’s reauthorization. They're entitled to that view. I don’t see a reason why they shouldn’t be allowed a debate, and then a vote, to sort this out either. I’ve said repeatedly and publicly for months that the Ex-Im supporters from both parties should be allowed a vote. I also said publicly that the highway bill would be an obvious place to have that vote.
“Mr. President, when there is overwhelming bipartisan support for an idea, even if I oppose it, it doesn’t require some 'special deal' to see a vote occur on that measure.
This is the United States Senate, after all, where we debate and vote on all kinds of different issues.
“The supporters of Ex-Im can still lose a vote, of course. They’re not the only ones with passion on their side. Those on my side of the issue are passionate too, and this debate might just present the perfect opportunity to make the case against Ex-Im and carry the day in an open and democratic vote. I hope they will.
“But whatever the outcome, the slots for these amendments will open once the Senate disposes of them. That will open the possibility of considering other important amendments.
Let me repeat that. The slots for these amendments will open once the Senate disposes of them.
“We know there are many other ideas from both sides of the aisle about how to improve the highway bill further before its completion. But we also know that time is running short to complete our work on the underlying highway bill.
“Jobs are on the line. Infrastructure projects important to the people we represent are on the line. So we have to get it done. And with cooperation, we can ensure that more ideas from both sides of the aisle are still heard and voted upon.
“This is a new Senate. Amendment votes are hardly a rarity here anymore. We will have more opportunities soon to address other issues in the weeks and months ahead, and I will work with colleagues to help ensure that votes on other priorities occur.”
Related Issues: Highway Bill