Reid: Finish Line in
Sight on Bipartisan Transportation Jobs Bill
March 9, 2012
Nevada Senator Harry Reid made the following remarks on the Senate floor
regarding the transportation jobs bill. Below are his remarks as
prepared for delivery:
I am please to say that Democrats and Republicans have reached an
agreement to advance the transportation jobs legislation before this
This is a truly bipartisan bill, which will repair this nation’s
dilapidated system of highways, roadways, railways and bridges.
More than 70,000 bridges in this country are in dire need of repair or
One of every five miles of American roads is not up to safety standards.
Every year, thousands of pedestrians are killed because they relied on
unsafe sidewalks – or no sidewalks at all.
And every day, millions of Americans – a disproportionate number of whom
are low-income, minority, disabled or elderly Americans – are forced to
rely on overcrowded mass transit systems straining to meet the demands
of growing ridership.
America's crumbling infrastructure is a terrible drag on our economy.
But rebuilding it will have the opposite effect. Investing in our
transportation system will create or save almost 3 million American
This week I received a letter from the I Make America campaign – a group
of more than 850 businesses and 20,000 individuals who support this
"There is no single piece of legislation now before Congress that will
do more to immediately create American jobs and sharpen our global
competitiveness," wrote Dennis Slater, on behalf of the I Make America,
the Association of Equipment Manufacturers and their tens of thousands
Push this bill over the finish line, he wrote. Today I am satisfied to
say the finish line is in sight.
This transportation jobs measure is one of the most important pieces of
legislation we'll consider this year. So I am glad our two sides have
found a way forward.
But even as I recognize the bipartisanship that made this progress
possible, I must sound a note of caution.
Eighty-five Senators voted to begin debate on this legislation. Yet it
has taken a month to begin voting on amendments.
Republican leaders have wasted weeks of the Senate's time obstructing
this valuable jobs bill to extract purely political votes on completely
They wasted weeks pressing an iconic attack on women's access to health
So I ask my friend, the Republican Leader, this: if it takes more than a
month to pass a non-controversial, bipartisan bill that has the support
of 80 or 90 Senators, how can we ever expect to get anything truly
Americans are not satisfied with this glacial pace, and neither am I.
Americans are tired of delay tactics and distractions, and so am I.
Many people across the country – and some in this Chamber – would write
off the rest of this Congress. I refuse to do that.
When we complete our work on this transportation jobs bill, we must move
on to postal reform and cybersecurity legislation.
must also advance additional job creation legislation, including a
bipartisan package of jobs bills that will spur the growth of small
These measures will improve innovators’ access to capital and streamline
how companies sell stock.
The Senate must also take action to ease the backlog of judicial
nominations. Our clogged courtrooms threaten the rights of millions of
Americans to a fair and speedy trial.
But to accomplish even a fraction of our to-do list, it will take more
cooperation and less conflict.
Democrats stand ready and willing to work with our Republican
I remain hopeful that when Democrats reach across the aisle, we find
willing partners on the other side.