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HIGHWAY TRUST FUND: Construction Shutdown Averted: Murray Calls for Renewed Focus on Long Term Transportation Investments

Jul 31 2014

Murray: “I’m glad that Republicans have pushed aside the Tea Party and worked with us to avoid a completely unnecessary construction shutdown”

After months of warning, Murray votes to avoid a Highway Trust Fund crisis

WASHINGTON, D.C. —Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development, released the following statement after Congress passed legislation to avert a crisis in the Highway Trust Fund:

“I’m glad that Republicans have pushed aside the Tea Party and worked with us to avoid a completely unnecessary construction shutdown that would have put jobs at risk and threatened our economic recovery. Finally, we were able to avoid a crisis with no ransom demands, no programmatic spending cuts, and no Tea Party policy riders.

“Passing this bill to avoid a construction shutdown was a small step in the right direction, but there is still work to do. Now that we have avoided this crisis in the near-term, I am hopeful that we can work toward a responsible long-term solution to the Highway Trust Fund’s revenue shortfall.”

Since March, Murray has called on Congress to avoid an unnecessary crisis and work toward finding a long-term solution. 

Background:

Senator Murray (D-WA): Another issue I’m going to be very focused on in the next few months, and I know many of my colleagues will be too, is making sure the Highway Trust Fund can pay its bills. The fund is facing a $60 billion shortfall over the next several years. As soon as mid-August, this could stall construction projects and put jobs across the country in jeopardy. If this isn’t resolved, it would place an unnecessary drag on our recovery this year, and would put off much-needed repairs to our roads and bridges, costing us much more down the line.” [Senate Budget Committee, 3/12/14]

Senator Murray (D-WA): “This bill will be a step in the right direction. But then we need to take the next step. We need to keep this bipartisanship going. And we need to work together toward a long-term solution for the Highway Trust Fund’s revenue shortfall. That is the only way that we can truly put an end to constant crises and short-term patches. And it is the only way that we can give states and businesses the certainty they need and deserve to plan projects and invest in their economies.” [Office of Sen. Murray 7/22/14]

“In an email to Business Insider, Murray, the No. 4 Democrat in the Senate, expressed support for a short-term fix for the Highway Trust Fund. ‘The most important thing we can do right now is prevent this looming and completely unnecessary crisis, so I’m hopeful Republicans will push aside the Tea Party fringe, and find a way to get a deal with us that would, at the very least, avoid a construction shutdown this summer,’ Murray said. ‘And as soon as we’ve ensured workers and businesses across the country won’t pay the price for another manufactured crisis coming out of Washington, D.C. we should absolutely look for a longer term solution.’” [Business Insider, 7/4/14]

Senator Murray (D-WA): “Congress must act to avoid this construction shutdown. There is no reason to lurch to another avoidable crisis when workers and families across the country are still struggling.” [Office of Sen. Murray, 4/8/14]

Democratic Sen. Patty Murray, who has been sounding the alarm for weeks on the Highway Trust Fund, has begun a campaign to prod Republicans into adopting a fix that runs similar to Obama's proposal. To back up her case, Murray noted Republican Rep. Dave Camp, the chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, dedicated $126.5 billion to the Highway Trust Fund in his proposal to reform the tax code released earlier this year.” [Business Insider, 5/15/14]

The Senate Democrats' top budget writer said Tuesday that the ‘threat is growing’ of a bankruptcy in the Department of Transportation’s Highway Trust Fund. Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) took the Senate floor to warn lawmakers of the consequences of allowing the fund normally used to pay for road and transit projects to run out of money this year.” [The Hill, 4/8/14]

“But in the Senate, Democrats such as Boxer and Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray nonetheless insist that Congress does need to act. ‘Republican leaders are going to have to find a way to come to the table and work with Democrats on a responsible solution to this looming construction shutdown—and they should do so sooner rather than later, because the window is closing on reaching an agreement to avert this crisis,’ Murray said Wednesday.” [National Journal, 6/25/14]

Democratic Sen. Patty Murray, who has been sounding the alarm for weeks on the Highway Trust Fund, has begun a campaign to prod Republicans into adopting a fix that runs similar to Obama's proposal. To back up her case, Murray noted Republican Rep. Dave Camp, the chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, dedicated $126.5 billion to the Highway Trust Fund in his proposal to reform the tax code released earlier this year.” [Business Insider, 5/15/14]

“‘Hopefully, House Republicans can at least work with us to keep jobs from being destroyed,’ said Sen. Patty Murray of Washington, a member of Democratic leadership. ‘It is in their interest to come to the table and avoid any shutdown.’” [Politico, 7/6/14]

“Democratic senators are also pushing the GOP-led House to act. ‘The clock is winding down for Congress to avoid lurching toward another unnecessary crisis — this time with a construction shutdown,’ said Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.). ‘States and businesses need certainty to create jobs and grow local economies ... failing to solve the shortfall would mean the exact opposite.’” [The Hill, 7/7/14]

“And watching from the across the Capitol, Senate Budget Committee Chair Patty Murray praised the Republican-led House. ‘It's encouraging to see Republicans in the House have chosen to push aside their tea party fringe and voted to at least prevent a shortfall that could derail or delay critical highway projects at the peak of construction season,’ Murray said in a statement. ‘Workers and businesses shouldn't have to pay the price for gridlock and dysfunction in DC, and I am hopeful that this takes us one more step away from a crisis.’” [National Journal, 7/15/14]