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Weekly Address: President Obama hits GOP House inaction on transportation bill

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President Barack Obama is calling on Congress to pass a bill to build what the White House calls a "21st century infrastructure." The White House believes that this is a "critical component of President Obama’s effort to accelerate economic growth, expand opportunity, and improve the competitiveness of the American economy."

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But House Republicans are not helping in the Obama administration’s desire to create more jobs.

The Hill reported that Obama used his weekly address today to hit House Republicans for their inaction on failing to pass a "robust multi-year transportation bill." Obama drew a stark contrast between his administration and Republicans on what is sure to be important issue for the mid-terms on job creation.

"At a time when our businesses have created 9.2 million new jobs in just over four years, and more companies are considering bringing jobs back from overseas, we have a choice to make," said Obama in his weekly address. "We can make it easier for businesses to invest in America – or we can make it harder."

Reiterating that he wants to "work with Congress to create jobs and opportunity for more Americans, whenever Congress won’t act. Obama added, "I will."

The sense of urgency is driven by the fact that the Highway Trust Fund is projected to run out of money before this fall. The White House fears that Congress, particularly the GOP-controlled House, will one again use politics to tie up the replenishing of the Highway Trust Fund.

Obama is calling on Congress to pass a robust multi-year transportation bill before funding runs out and puts hundreds of thousands of jobs at risk.

"65% of our country's major roads are rated in less than good condition?" says the White House. "A quarter of America's bridges need significant repair or can't handle today's traffic?"

Without the passage of "robust multi-year transportation bill," puts in jeopardy 700,000 American jobs -- and more than 112,000 active projects that are currently fixing our roads and bridges.

However, once again, Obama promises that he pledges that "2014 is a year of action, and that while he wants to work with Congress wherever they are willing, he will not hesitate to use his power as President to act on his own to promote American economic growth and opportunity."

Obama took to the road this week in promoting his "robust multi-year transportation bill." Obama delivered remarks on his infrastructure bill, near the Tappan Zee Bridge, at the Washington Irving Boat Club in Tarrytown, this past Wednesday. Construction of the new Tappan Zee Bridge was used as a backdrop for his infrastructure bill.

Obama also used this week’s address to urge Congress to pass an infrastructure bill. Obama also wants to expand opportunity for more Americans, with or without the help of Republicans in Congress.

Included in his Administration’s efforts to cut red tape for major transportation infrastructure projects is meeting with business leaders to highlight the importance of bringing jobs back to America and will also discuss the economic benefits of making it easier for tourists to visit and spend money at attractions in the U.S. The White House says that this, in turn, "helps local businesses and grows the economy for everyone."

Obama presented three things that the Obama administration is "doing right now."

"First, we’re helping more businesses bring jobs to America from overseas. Three years ago, my Administration created SelectUSA – a team of people in embassies abroad and agencies here at home focused on insourcing instead of outsourcing. Today, they’re helping a Belgian company create jobs in Oklahoma. They’re helping a Canadian company create jobs in Kansas," said Obama.

"Second, on Thursday, I’ll be heading to Cooperstown, New York – home of the Baseball Hall of Fame – to talk about tourism. Because believe it or not, tourism is an export. And if we make it easier for more foreign visitors to visit and spend money at America’s attractions and unparalleled national parks, that helps local businesses and grows the economy for everyone," making his second point.

"Finally, we know that investing in first-class infrastructure attracts first-class jobs. And I want to spend a minute on this, because it’s very important this year," said Obama.

Obama made the case for small business locating in area "Where the newest, fastest transportation and communications networks let them invent and sell goods Made in America to the rest of the world as fast as possible."

Again he warned, "If Congress doesn’t act by the end of this summer, federal funding for transportation projects will run out. States might have to put some of their projects on hold. In fact, some already are, because they’re worried Congress won’t clear up its own gridlock."

Obama also promised that passing a "robust multi-year transportation bill" will not add to the deficit, by closing wasteful tax loopholes for companies that ship jobs overseas.

Obama again took after the "Republicans in Congress," who he contends have "very different priorities."

"Not only have they neglected to prevent this funding from running out, their proposal would actually cut by 80% a job-creating grant program that has funded high-priority transportation projects in all 50 states. And they can’t say it’s to save money, because at the very same time, they voted for trillions of dollars in new tax cuts, weighted towards those at the very top," argued Obama.

Obama is planning on cutting red tape to "fast-track the permitting process for major projects. Normally, it would have taken three to five years to permit that bridge. We did it in a year and a half. And I announced a new plan to cut red tape and speed up the process for even more projects across the country."

In conclusion, Obama said "All these steps will make it easier for businesses to invest in America and create more good jobs. All of them can be done without Congress."

Adding "We could do a lot more if Congress was willing to help."

***

Sources:

The Hill - Obama hits GOP on infrastructure

White House weekly address - Weekly Address: Working When Congress Won't Act

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