Graves Statement from Markup of the Majority’s My Way or the Highway Bill 2.0
Opening remarks, as prepared, of Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Ranking Member Sam Graves (R-MO) from today’s markup of the Committee Majority’s “My Way or the Highway Bill 2.0” (H.R. 3684) – one of two bills being considered by the Committee today that could have been addressed in a bipartisan manner had the Majority been willing to do so:
Thank you, Chair DeFazio.
We’ve all heard the expression that “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.”
One year ago, we took up a highway bill that was developed entirely by the Majority. That bill passed out of Committee on a partisan vote, and then out of the House largely along partisan lines. Then what happened? It went nowhere.
I hoped that the Speaker had learned that successful legislating depends on partnership – not partisanship – especially after the Majority in the House shrank to just a few members. But I was wrong.
After our meeting with the President and the Speaker’s calls for bipartisan Committee action, I stood ready for productive discussions about how we could include some of our Republican principles into the Majority’s framework.
A compromise could have landed us somewhere between the Majority’s proposal and our Republicans’ priorities, which are reflected in the STARTER Act 2.0. Finding a compromise would result in something we could all support for the good of the country. Our side was willing to do that.
Unfortunately, our attempts to move towards the Majority’s positions – as demonstrated by a very substantial increase in our topline funding in the Republican STARTER Act this year – were not reciprocated in any meaningful way. In fact, instead of showing a willingness to move toward the middle, the Majority moved even further away from us to accommodate the most progressive members of their conference.
Our Republican proposal provided increased and historic levels of funding – moving toward the Majority’s position in that regard – but today’s bill moved further away from a compromise by adding yet another 11% increase over their bill last year.
In addition, instead of working with us to find a compromise on provisions to address the Majority’s climate priorities, this bill moved further away from last year’s bill – now $1 out of every $2 in this bill is tied up in meeting the Green New Deal agenda.
The Senate EPW Committee was able to successfully find common ground that resulted in unanimous approval, including from Committee Members on both ends of the political spectrum such as Bernie Sanders and Jim Inhofe.
But the House Majority is doubling down on last year’s failed process. We’re following the same roadmap to nowhere – it’s “My Way or the Highway” 2.0.
Pretty insane if you ask me, but again, this is not my process and certainly not how I’d do things.
Click here for more information from today’s markup, including live video.