President Obama was at the Georgetown Waterfront Park to deliver a speech to urge Congress to pass his four-year, $302 billion transportation policy plan that would include $63 billion to boost the nearly depleted Highway Trust Fund.
The fund receives its revenue from the federal gasoline tax; but with Americans driving their cars fewer miles, and newer vehicles being more fuel efficient, the fund only brings in $34 billion a year. Unless the fund is replenished, the reimbursement checks to states building federal transportation projects will slow down and delay those projects and jeopardize up to 700,000 jobs. Republicans and Democrats agree that infrastructure repairs are necessary; yet they are at odds about how to find the necessary funds.
The administration’s plan would end the fund’s reliance on the 18.4-cents per gallon tax by substituting savings derived from closing tax loopholes for companies that are shipping their profits overseas to avoid paying taxes. “It’s not crazy; it’s not socialism.” said Obama. “It’s not the imperial presidency; no laws are broken. We’re just building roads and bridges like we’ve been doing for the last, I don’t know, 50, 100 years.” He went on to accuse the Republicans for refusing to act on this idea and obstructing his plans to improve the country’s infrastructure.
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Obama said, “Middle-class families can’t wait for Republicans in Congress to do stuff. So sue me. As long as they’re doing nothing, I’m not going to apologize for trying to do something.”
Obama continued to blame Republicans throughout his speech for the slow economic recovery. “It’s not as if we don’t have good plans to put more people back to work and raise their incomes and improve the quality of education. We know how to do it. That’s not the reason it’s not happening. It’s not happening because of politics.”