WASHINGTON--Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) Co-Chair of Congressional Progressive Caucus, released the following statement after voting for H.R. 4348, Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2012:
“After more than 100 days of inaction, John Boehner and Republicans in the House of Representatives have finally agreed to support America’s roads, bridges, and students. This will be good news for hundreds of 5th District residents and local leaders who have contacted me about stalled transportation projects.
“Today’s bill will create or save more than 2 million American jobs—and will strengthen ‘Buy America’ protections for highway and bridge projects across Minnesota. Unlike an earlier House Republican bill, the compromise authorizes highway and transit programs for more than two years at current levels and cuts red tape for transportation projects. The bill allows the EPA to limit polluters spouting coal ash into the environment, which creates 130 million tons of waste each year, according to the EPA. And this bill doesn’t force the President to authorize a pipeline risks environmental disaster for American farmers and ranchers.
“This bill also resolves a crisis for thousands of students in Minnesota. For months, Republicans threatened to allow student loan rates to double to nearly 7 percent. The average Minnesota college student is already $29,000 in debt, and student loan debt rose to more than $1 trillion last year. Thanks to this agreement, the American Dream will remain a possibility for students aspiring to go to college.
“Americans expect their leaders to find common ground on the most basic functions of our democracy--funding our roads and educating our children.”