Full Committee Markup - INVEST Act (June 9, 2021)

2167 Rayburn House Office Building and online via videoconferencing

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0 Wednesday, June 09, 2021 @ 10:00 | Contact: Justin Harclerode 202-225-9446

The Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure approved the following measures:

Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute (ANS) to H.R. 1915, the Water Quality Protection and Job Creation Act of 2021: Text

Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute (ANS) to H.R. 3684, the INVEST in America Act: Text

Link to amendments and recorded votes taken.

Opening remarks, as prepared, of Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Ranking Member Sam Graves (R-MO) on the Committee Majority’s “My Way or the Highway Bill 2.0” (H.R. 3684):

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.

Opening remarks, as prepared, of Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Ranking Member Sam Graves (R-MO) on the Committee Majority’s wastewater infrastructure bill (H.R. 1915):

Thank you, Chair DeFazio. 

Throughout the Nation, water and wastewater infrastructure are long past their design life and in need of urgent repair, replacement, and upgrading.

This Committee has long proven it can successfully pass critical legislation and reauthorize programs through partnership – not partisanship.  However, the Majority has now decided to go its own way on clean water infrastructure, in contrast to last Congress. 

In the last Congress, we came to an agreement on a way to move forward on clean water infrastructure.  That bill, which was once celebrated by the Majority as a means of making the Federal government a significant partner in sewage treatment improvements, authorized robust but realistic levels of funding, contained common-sense regulatory relief, and looked out for small and rural communities.

That bill passed with overwhelming bipartisan support.  In fact, every Member on this Committee who served last Congress voted for that agreement.  Today’s bill, I predict, will not produce the same outcome.

Just a few weeks ago, we saw our Senate colleagues embrace a bipartisan approach, passing a water infrastructure bill with realistic funding levels closely in line with our bipartisan agreement from last Congress.  Committee Republicans have been ready to work on a bipartisan agreement that uses our bill from last Congress as a framework. 

There was common ground to be found, both on providing robust but practical funding levels, and finding ways to relieve some of the burdens that communities face.  But instead, the Majority decided to walk away from our previous agreement, authorizing unrealistically high authorization levels that will never get funded.  Partisanship is why this program hasn’t been reauthorized since its last one expired in 1994.

We have an opportunity here to show the American people that we can work together, and my Republican colleagues and I remain ready to work on a serious effort to develop a bipartisan bill, but unfortunately the Majority isn’t interested in bipartisanship.

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