CONFERENCE REPORT ON H.R. 4348, MOVING AHEAD FOR PROGRESS IN THE 21ST CENTURY ACT
(House of Representatives - June 29, 2012)

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[Pages H4616-H4630]
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 CONFERENCE REPORT ON H.R. 4348, MOVING AHEAD FOR PROGRESS IN THE 21ST 
                              CENTURY ACT

  Mr. MICA. Mr. Speaker, pursuant to House Resolution 717, I call up 
the conference report on the bill (H.R. 4348) to provide an extension 
of Federal-aid highway, highway safety, motor carrier safety, transit, 
and other programs funded out of the Highway Trust Fund pending 
enactment of a multiyear law reauthorizing such programs, and for other 
purposes.
  The Clerk read the title of the bill.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to House Resolution 717, the 
conference report is considered read.
  (For conference report and statement, see proceedings of the House of 
June 28, 2011, at page H4432.)
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman from Florida (Mr. Mica) and 
the gentleman from West Virginia (Mr. Rahall) each will control 30 
minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Florida.


                             General Leave

  Mr. MICA. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members may 
have 5 legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and include 
extraneous materials on the conference report to accompany H.R. 4348.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentleman from Florida?
  There was no objection.
  Mr. MICA. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker and my colleagues, it has indeed been a very bumpy road 
to get to this point where we could pass a transportation bill.
  First, I have to thank my colleagues. I want to particularly thank 
the Speaker of the House of Representatives who stuck by me, who 
insisted that we pass this legislation that we worked on together in 
the best interest of the people of the United States, particularly in a 
time when people have lost their jobs, particularly at a time where the 
construction industry is at its lowest point in probably our history, 
and particularly at a time when it's important for Congress to act, not 
just to talk about problems that we have, but to get things done in the 
best interest of the people of the United States.

                              {time}  1050

  So I want to thank first the Speaker. I want to thank my colleagues 
who participated. I want to thank the staff who have been up almost 
nonstop for 2 weeks day and night trying to help wrap this up.
  I'm not particularly pleased with some of the twists and turns. Let 
me say, first of all, my predecessor Mr. Oberstar, I regret that he was 
not able to achieve what we've achieved. He was undermined, 
unfortunately, by this administration to pass a bill. I tried to help 
him to pass a bill, not for partisan reasons or political reasons, but, 
again, for the people that we represent and trying to get this country, 
the economy moving forward. They had to pass six extensions. I was 
forced to pass three. But we're here today because so many people 
worked so hard.
  One of the funniest things that happened to me during the passage of 
this bill--and you know that people have been kind of tough on me 
during this process--is I came to the floor one morning after a 
particularly tough time, and a staffer looked at me and he said, Mr. 
Mica, your shirt is awfully clean. He looked at my shirt, opened

[[Page H4617]]

my coat, and he said, Your shirt is awfully clean.
  I said, What do you mean?
  He said, For someone that's been thrown under the bus so many times, 
you don't have many tire tracks on you.
  One of the light moments in this process.
  But you know what you have to do is, when they throw you under the 
bus, you get up, you right yourself, you dust yourself off, and then 
you gain even more determination to win and get the job done. And 
that's what we're doing today.
  Today we're passing a bill, again, that the other side couldn't pass 
when they had complete control of the White House, the Senate, and the 
House of Representatives. We're passing this today, ironically, in the 
week that they passed the first transportation bill in Congress, and it 
was signed into law back in June of 1956.
  This isn't the bill that exactly I would like, but this is a bill 
that, first of all, has the most historic reforms in the Federal 
participation in transportation programs in its history, since its 
adoption back in 1956. Those reforms are included, and there is a 
dramatic change in consolidation of some of the programs that 
mushroomed. Government mushrooms. Nobody does anything about reining in 
the size of government. This bill does something about that.
  This bill takes the plea that we've heard from Beckley, West 
Virginia, to the west coast, from sea to shining sea in an 
unprecedented number of hearings across the country. And people said 
the whole paperwork process, red tape of Federal Government involved in 
transportation projects has to be changed. And we change it here for 
the first time historically, dramatically reducing the time that it 
takes to permit and go forward with a project, dramatically reducing 
the cost, dramatically reducing the mandates, increasing the 
flexibility for local government. So we have a streamlining process, 
unprecedented.
  Now, this wasn't easy to do because my previous chairmen--and one of 
them that, at least, is here--they had a little thing called earmarks. 
In fact, the last bill had 6,300 earmarks. And you see, my hands are 
behind my back. I don't have them tied, but I didn't have the ability 
to pass out earmarks and the other little goodies in this bill. 
Instead, we had to focus on policy. And this is good policy. This is 
good policy for transportation safety. This is good policy for, again, 
reforms, and it's good policy for moving forward projects across the 
country and putting people to work.
  ``Shovel-ready'' will no longer be a joke. The administration, when 
they tried the stimulus dollars to throw that money out there, 35 
percent was left in the Federal Treasury 2\1/2\ years after we passed 
the bill because ``shovel-ready'' even made the President and others 
cringe at the thought of how Federal red tape and paperwork stops 
projects in their progress.
  So those are some of the reforms.
  I'm grateful, again, for all that helped us move in a positive 
bipartisan direction.
  I want to compliment Senator Boxer. She and I are probably like oil 
and water when it comes to political philosophy, but we joined 
together, like everyone should do, to get the people's work done and to 
get people working in the United States and pass this long overdue 
legislation.
  I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. RAHALL. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  As with health care in the aftermath of yesterday's landmark Supreme 
Court decision, it's now time to move forward and put the divisiveness 
which has plagued the enactment of a surface transportation 
reauthorization bill for the first time in decades behind us and 
coalesce in support of the pending conference agreement.
  This bill makes a sound investment in America. Fifty-six years ago, a 
Democratic Congress and a Republican President came together. And on 
this day in 1956, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed into law the 
Federal-Aid Highway Act, which established the interstate system of 
highways. This historic piece of legislation created a transportation 
system in this country that awed the world. Yet in recent decades, our 
roads, bridges, trains, and transit systems have slipped into decline 
because we have failed to make the necessary investments to improve the 
condition and performance of this network.
  The pending legislation will not completely reverse the course of 
this decline, but, at the very least, States will see no reduction in 
the infrastructure investment funding that they desperately need to 
tackle crumbling roadways, deficient bridges, and to secure rail-
highway grade crossings.
  The States and transportation contractors will have the ability to 
count on a stable source of funding through fiscal year 2014, 
sustaining and creating jobs, and enhancing the mobility and safety of 
American motorists.
  Critical investments in transit will continue, reducing traffic 
congestion. And alternative means of transportation will continue to be 
a valued enterprise in which to invest, increasing the quality of life 
and the health of the American people.
  To be sure, there are some glaring shortcomings:
  The transit privatization provisions threaten service, not enhance 
it;
  The environmental streamlining provisions shortchange public input 
and could very well lead to greater delays in project delivery;
  The Buy America provision is lethargic compared to the bold and 
decisive strokes that I advocated;
  The mandate to install black boxes on commercial motor vehicles will 
come at great cost to struggling independent business people, without 
any proven safety benefits; and
  There's an ill-advised provision that has no business in this 
legislation, which harms our maritime industry by weakening our cargo 
preference laws.
  When all is said and done, though, this bill is what it is.
  As with so much legislation in this body, this conference agreement--
this one, in particular--means jobs, and it means that we will not have 
further layoffs. It means that we will continue to move our economy.
  And when all is said and done, I will choose to vote for American 
jobs any day.
  Mr. Speaker, before reserving the balance of my time, I ask unanimous 
consent that time on this side be temporarily managed by Mr. DeFazio of 
Oregon.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Without objection, the gentleman from Oregon 
will control the time.
  There was no objection.
  Mr. RAHALL. I reserve the balance of my time.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman from Oregon will control the 
time.
  Mr. MICA. Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to yield 3 minutes to the 
gentleman from Tennessee (Mr. Duncan), who does a wonderful job 
chairing and leading the Highways Subcommittee.
  Mr. DUNCAN. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the conference report 
on H.R. 4348, the surface transportation reauthorization bill of 2012.
  I first want to salute Chairman Mica for the tremendous job he has 
done in bringing this bill to the floor today, and I want to thank him 
for allowing me to serve as chairman of the Highways and Transit 
Subcommittee. This monumental reform package will be considered the 
signature jobs bill of the 112th Congress, and I am pleased to have 
been a conferee on the negotiations of the conference report.
  States will have over 2 years of funding certainty with no tax 
increases. By providing long-term funding stability to States, major 
projects will be able to move forward to help create jobs and make 
much-needed repairs to our Nation's critical transportation 
infrastructure. These are jobs, Mr. Speaker, that will not be 
outsourced to China or elsewhere.
  Traffic congestion costs the U.S. economy over $100 billion a year, 
approximately. With congestion expected to increase over the next 
decade and beyond, the job creation from this bill will help reduce 
congestion costs and boost the economy.
  This conference report contains no earmarks.

                              {time}  1100

  Funding is distributed based on formulas which go directly to State 
Departments of Transportation, which will prioritize the highway and 
transit projects that are the most needed and most important in their 
State.

[[Page H4618]]

  The number of Federal programs has been greatly reduced, which will 
give the States greater flexibility on how they spend their limited 
Federal resources. The conference report doubles the funding for the 
Highway Safety Improvement Program, which gives States resources for 
improvements to dangerous and unsafe sections on our Nation's highways 
and will save lives. A more robust Highway Safety Improvement Program 
will help continue the downward trend of highway fatalities and serious 
injuries that we have seen in the last several years.
  The House included several streamlining provisions that will have a 
dramatic effect on the project delivery process. Federal agencies will 
be given deadlines to review burdensome environmental requirements, and 
it requires concurrent instead of consecutive project reviews. Projects 
that are in the footprint of an existing highway will not be required 
to go through this process. According to the last study of the Federal 
Highway Administration, the project delivery process can take up to 15 
years from conception to completion. This is government at its worst. 
These reforms will help cut project delivery times in half and save 
taxpayers a great deal of money.
  The Senate bill also includes a wide spectrum of additional 
government bureaucracy and red tape for small business that would have 
severely hurt their bottom line. We were successful in removing most of 
these over-burdensome regulations.
  This, Madam Speaker, is the most conservative highway bill ever, both 
from a fiscal standpoint and from a policy standpoint. I would 
especially like to praise the staff that has worked so hard, led by Jim 
Tymon, one of the most competent and capable people this Congress has 
ever had, from a staff standpoint.
  I look forward to passing this reform bill and putting Americans back 
to work, and I urge passage of this bill.
  Mr. DeFAZIO. I yield myself 2 minutes.
  This is 27 months of certainty for the States. That's good. They'll 
be able to plan major projects. That will mean there will be some 
equipment acquisitions by contractors and others, unlike the short-term 
miniscule amount of money spent during the so-called ``stimulus'' bill, 
which I opposed. That's good. But this is not enough.
  Ten years ago, the United States of America was rated as having the 
fifth-best transportation infrastructure in the world. Not great, but 
not that bad. Today, we are 25th in the world. Most Third World 
countries are spending a much larger percentage of their gross domestic 
product on transportation infrastructure than we are.
  The Eisenhower legacy is crumbling. We have 150,000 bridges that need 
repair or replacement. Forty percent of the pavement on the national 
highway system needs to be totally redone, not just surfaced. And we 
have a $70 billion backlog in transit, and we have Buy America rules, 
which guarantee that all the products that go into those jobs, that 
investment we need, would be kept here at home. So we did not get to 
that point with this bill.
  This is essentially a little decline from what we just spent last 
year on transportation infrastructure. And what we spent last year, 
according to two blue ribbon panels commissioned during the Bush 
administration, is about half of what we need to begin to bring this up 
to a world-class system to compete with the rest of the world and deal 
with the deficiencies. Build a 21st century transportation system. This 
money in this bill for 27 months will be enough to put a few more Band-
Aids on the 20th century, and the 19th century infrastructure, in some 
places, that we're still utilizing.
  There are good things. It builds on the ideas that Chairman Oberstar 
and I offered 2 years ago to dramatically consolidate the bureaucracy 
downtown at the Department of Transportation. We don't need to be 
spending money on 106 different programs that are so complicated that 
no one knows how to apply, and how to apply the rules, and all that. 
That's good. We're going to consolidate that. It does some streamlining 
so projects will get done more quickly.
  There are a number of salutary aspects of this bill. But we need to 
do better by the American people the next time we address that issue.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mrs. Emerson). Without objection, the 
gentleman from Tennessee (Mr. Duncan) will control the time.
  There was no objection.
  Mr. DUNCAN of Tennessee. Madam Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to a former 
chairman of our committee, a great Member of this body, the gentleman 
from Alaska (Mr. Young).
  (Mr. YOUNG of Alaska asked and was given permission to revise and 
extend his remarks.)
  Mr. YOUNG of Alaska. Madam Speaker, Members of this body, I want to 
congratulate the staff, primarily. We mentioned some of them before. 
The work that they put in this bill is awesome, when they're dealing 
with the dark side. And you did such a good job of getting things done 
that we tried to get done in H.R. 7.
  I will agree with the gentleman from Oregon about the future and what 
we have not done in this body because the public still does not believe 
we need to do what should be done, and that is to pay for the 
infrastructure through a system that's fair to everyone and quit 
thinking there's a magic wand to get this job done to build our 
infrastructure as it should be. We are declining each year.
  I would like to thank the chairman also, Mr. Mica. He's absolutely 
right. When I was chairman, we had a $289 billion, 5-year bill. It's 
been in place now 8 years. And I'm quite proud of TEA-LU. But the 
chairman was, yes, with his hands tied, because we did not and have not 
in the Congress retained what I think is a constitutional right of 
every Congressman: direct money in directions that they know best, 
without costing the budget one dime. Now we've transferred this money 
to the State Departments of Transportation, and I think that's really a 
wrong way to do it, because they're not elected. They don't know what's 
best for a State.

  But Mr. Mica did an outstanding job. Mr. Duncan did an outstanding 
job. And the staff did an outstanding job to make really a small silk 
purse out of a sow's ear. But now we have to go forth and do another 
legislative bill in the very near future and explain it to the public: 
you don't like those potholes, you don't like that wobbly bridge, then 
you better support the concept of a user's fee or some way to raise the 
money, because you won't take it out of the general fund.
  We have to do this for America if you want a sound economy. Our 
economy is based upon energy and the ability to move product to and 
from. If you don't do that, you don't have the America I know.
  Mr. DeFAZIO. I yield 1 minute to the gentleman from Iowa (Mr. 
Boswell).
  Mr. BOSWELL. I would just like to give my appreciation to you, Mr. 
Chairman, to Mr. Rahall, and to you, Peter, and everybody that's worked 
so hard on this.
  Just one comment. We're moving forward. We're going to have jobs. 
We've done the right thing. It's a good first step. We've got more to 
do, as was just said. Everybody gives up something.
  We've got this control box, if you want to call it, the black box; 
the recorder that's going to be in all trucks. The Mexican trucks get 
theirs paid for.
  This happens to be a commercial driver's license. I don't know how 
many of you have got one, but if you want to see one, come look at it 
sometime. It's a little doing to get one. Owner-operators have to pay 
for their own. They're making $50,000, $60,000 a year if they're doing 
a good operation. That's prevalent in trucks running across this 
country. They're doing a good job. They're keeping commerce moving. We 
ought to just keep in mind we ought to give those middle class, 
hardworking, patriotic Americans the consideration they deserve.
  But I'm glad we got the bill. I will go out there and work with all 
of you to try to get it better and get more done, but we've got a good 
first step.
  Mr. DeFAZIO. I ask unanimous consent that the gentleman from West 
Virginia (Mr. Rahall) be permitted to control the balance of the time.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Without objection, the gentleman from West 
Virginia will control the time.
  There was no objection.
  Mr. MICA. Madam Speaker, I am pleased to yield 3 minutes to the 
distinguished chair of the Science, Space and Technology Committee, the 
gentleman from Texas (Mr. Hall).

[[Page H4619]]

  Mr. HALL of Texas. Madam Speaker, I, of course, rise in support of 
the conference report accompanying H.R. 4348, a bicameral effort that 
provides States flexibility and eliminates duplication of effort. I 
want to thank Chairman Mica for his leadership in this conference and 
for his outstanding work in negotiating a strong surface transportation 
reauthorization. The conferees' commitment to reforming Federal surface 
transportation programs has ensured hardworking taxpayers' dollars are 
being used more effectively and efficiently.

                              {time}  1110

  Chairman Mica actually visited most areas of this country. At a time 
when we were at home in our districts, he could have been at his home 
in his district, but he was seeking to empower a bill that sought the 
greatest good for the greatest number. He worked hard at it. I don't 
believe in my 32 years here I've ever seen a chairman work so hard to 
get a bill that was very difficult to start with.
  At the outset of the conference, many of us committed to ensuring 
that surface transportation and restoration funding is used for its 
intended purpose. As chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space 
and Technology, I'm pleased that the transportation research programs 
in the reauthorization are focused on enhancing safety, reducing 
congestion, and improving quality in the transportation system.
  The reauthorization before us provides, among other things, greater 
flexibility to keep research programs focused, and eliminates a number 
of unnecessary programs.
  The inclusion of language contained in the RESTORE Act illustrates 
our commitment to the revitalization of those areas harmed by the 
Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The addition of certain transparency 
requirements and the ability for the gulf States to dedicate funding to 
research and development and undertaking projects and programs using 
the best available science ensure the area most impacted will benefit.
  I would also like to thank my colleague from Science, Space, and 
Technology, Mr. Cravaack. He worked hard to protect the interest of his 
constituents in Minnesota, and he was committed to ensuring that we 
come away with a strong research title. I believe we've done that.
  Finally, I'd like to thank the Speaker for the opportunity to work 
with the Senate to complete a conference report that will provide more 
certainty to the States and the localities for infrastructure planning 
purposes.
  I believe this bill helps to create jobs for the American people, 
which is vital in this troubled economy.
  Mr. RAHALL. Madam Speaker, I'm happy to yield 2 minutes to the 
distinguished gentleman from California (Mr. George Miller), the 
ranking member of the Education and Workforce Committee, who has 
jurisdiction over the student loan section of this conference 
agreement.
  (Mr. GEORGE MILLER of California asked and was given permission to 
revise and extend his remarks.)
  Mr. GEORGE MILLER of California. Madam Speaker, I rise today in 
support of this conference agreement.
  Without it, transportation projects would dry up, countless American 
workers would be thrown out of work, and a college education would cost 
an additional $1,000 for more than 7 million students and their 
families.
  The benefits of this legislation for millions of Americans will be 
felt immediately. In my home State of California, this legislation will 
save or create nearly 180,000 construction jobs rebuilding our highways 
and bridges and bike paths; and it will save 570,000 California 
students from going deeper into debt this next academic year. With this 
conference report, 7 million students across this country will get 
another year of interest rate relief as they take out their student 
loans for the coming college year. More than 4.5 million of those will 
be women, more than 1.5 million of those will be African American, 
nearly 1 million are Hispanic students, all who are struggling to stay 
in college. This interest rate relief that we are providing today will 
help them.
  What is happening today, though, is a rare thing in this Congress. 
It's a victory for college students. It's a victory for low-income 
families. It's a victory for the middle class. It's a victory that 
should not be as rare as it is in the Congress today. The American 
people should thank this win, and we should make sure that we continue 
to cooperate in this Congress. And we should also make sure that we 
heed the words of Mr. Young and Mr. DeFazio that we have to do more on 
our infrastructure to make this country a first-rate country going 
forward in the future.
  Thank you very much for yielding me this time, Mr. Rahall, and for 
all of your work on this legislation.
  Mr. MICA. Madam Speaker, I'm pleased to yield 2 minutes to the 
gentleman from Alabama (Mr. Bachus), the distinguished chair of the 
Financial Services Committee.
  Mr. BACHUS. Madam Speaker, first let me commend Chairman Mica on 
behalf of this Congress and the American people for the fine work that 
you and your committee have done on this bill. We'll build more roads 
with less money and cut through red tape and expedite projects.
  I also want to associate myself with the words of Don Young, our 
former chairman, and of Mr. Miller from California. You cannot have--
the leading country in the world cannot have a Third World 
infrastructure. And unless we find new funding sources, we will 
continue to fall behind, and we will continue to have those potholes 
and bottlenecks.
  Now, I want to move to the National Flood Insurance program which is 
a part of this bill. It also is a win for the American people. This 
House over a year ago approved comprehensive flood insurance, risk 
based, that would reduce the cost and bring many benefits to the 
program. Last week, the Senate sent us a bill which is essentially the 
bill we sent them over a year ago. It's a bipartisan bill. It was a lot 
of hard work and input from Members. We passed it overwhelmingly in the 
Financial Services Committee and overwhelmingly on the floor of this 
House. I would like to commend Chairwoman Biggert for her fine work. 
Her name is on this bill, and there's a reason for that. She worked 
harder than anyone in this Congress to deliver a good bill. It's a 5-
year bill, and it will begin to make up for the deficit of $17.5 
billion that this program has as a result of those hurricanes back in 
2005.
  I would like to commend the Illinois delegation and the California 
delegation under Mr. Shimkus and Mr. Costa who, sadly, is retiring this 
year. This bill takes care to balance costs and communities that use 
their own funds. I urge Members to pass this bill. It's a good bill. It 
includes many good provisions, and I'm proud to say that the Financial 
Services Committee and its members have been a part of this effort.
  As the legislation to reauthorize and reform the National Flood 
Insurance Program heads to the President's desk, I would like to 
acknowledge the time, effort, and wisdom that four members of the 
Financial Services Committee staff provided to create this positive 
outcome. These staff members were able to reconcile the differences 
between the House and Senate bills--working through a host of complex, 
highly technical issues--in less than one week. The efforts of Clinton 
Jones, Tallman Johnson, Ed Skala, and Nicole Austin helped all of us to 
achieve this very beneficial outcome for the American taxpayer, and I 
thank them for their service to the U.S. House of Representatives.
  Madam Speaker, first I want to commend Transportation Committee 
Chairman Mica, Subcommittee Chairman Duncan, Ranking Member Rahall and 
others for their hard work on the needed transportation and 
infrastructure improvements in this bill.
  I also want to take the time to comment on provisions in this bill 
regarding reauthorization and reform of the National Flood Insurance 
Program (NFIP).
  Today we're doing something we haven't done since 2004: provide a 
long-term reauthorization with meaningful reforms for the National 
Flood Insurance Program. Since September 2008, the NFIP has been 
extended 17 times and the program has lapsed four times during that 
same time period, creating needless uncertainty in the residential and 
commercial real estate sectors in communities across the country.
  Over a year ago the Financial Services Committee and then the House, 
in a bipartisan display of cooperation, overwhelmingly passed a five-
year flood insurance bill with comprehensive reforms and savings for 
the taxpayers. This week the Senate approved our legislation.
  This bipartisan bill represents the hard work and input of many 
members, and I especially

[[Page H4620]]

want to thank Housing Subcommittee Chairwoman Biggert for her 
leadership in getting us to this point.
  This bill takes great care to balance the need to make the NFIP more 
actuarially sound with the need to recognize the hard work and 
difficult decisions many communities are making to build or 
rehabilitate their dams and levees. I particularly want to thank Mr. 
Shimkus for working with us to address those concerns in a responsible 
way.
  Many of us have been calling for fundamental reforms of the NFIP for 
several years. The hurricanes of 2005 led to massive flooding and 
overwhelmed the program, which now carries a debt to the Treasury of 
$17.5 billion as a result.
  The NFIP is facing serious financial challenges and cannot afford to 
continue on its current trajectory, which is why today's bill is vital. 
The reforms in this bill end the decades-old subsidies for about 
355,000 policyholders and reduce the program's need to borrow 
additional funds from the Treasury, which will help reduce the 
program's shortfall and protect American taxpayers.
  Congress has a responsibility to ensure that the taxpayers are not 
left holding the bag. This bill puts us on the path to reforming the 
program with risk-based premiums, and provisions to better protect both 
taxpayers and homeowners while encouraging greater private sector 
participation.
  Since January of 2011, I have held as a goal of this Congress to 
achieve fundamental reform of the NFIP. The bill we have before us 
today accomplishes that in a fair and responsible manner. I urge all 
Members to support it.
  Mr. RAHALL. Madam Speaker, I'm happy to yield 1 minute to the 
gentlelady from the District of Columbia (Ms. Norton), a distinguished 
member of our conference on this agreement.
  Ms. NORTON. I thank Chairman Mica and Ranking Member Rahall for 
working together on this bill. This year's transportation bill could be 
named the Jobs Act of 2012 because it is the only bill from the 112th 
Congress that will create a significant number of jobs.
  A word on a couple of significant provisions. Seldom has a 
pioneering, landmark bill found its way into a transportation 
reauthorization bill, but in today's bill is the first bill to set 
national standards for subway safety, bringing subways in line with all 
other modes of transportation, which have long had national standards. 
This is probably the most significant provision of this bill.
  The DBE language is tailored to ensure that the government is 
equipped with the tools it must have to address the compelling need for 
the government to meet its responsibility to continue to address 
discrimination in small business contracting.
  With all of its shortcomings, and there are many, the American people 
finally will have a jobs bill from this Congress.
  Mr. MICA. Madam Speaker, I'm pleased to yield 2\1/2\ minutes to the 
distinguished gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Shuster), one of the 
leaders of our committee and the chair of the Rail Subcommittee.
  Mr. SHUSTER. I thank the chairman for yielding me this time. I first 
would like to thank Chairman Mica and Chairman Duncan for their hard 
work in producing what I believe is a very solid bill with historic 
reforms in it. The chairman was a tough negotiator, and he came away 
with something that I believe we can all be very proud of.
  We need to act on this bill. If we don't act, if we fail to act, the 
trust fund will default. We'd have to figure out a way to bail it out. 
And yet, here we are with a 2-year bill that is fully funded and has 
some significant reforms in it.
  Those reforms include, first of all, the fact that it is a 2-year 
bill which puts certainty out there to the States and the companies and 
people who build roads and highways and supply them with the products 
that they need. That is extremely important.
  Second, it consolidates nearly two-thirds of the programs, which is 
important in reducing red tape and in streamlining project delivery. 
That is significant. We believe that will reduce the amount of time it 
takes to build a significant highway project in half. That's a 
tremendous savings. When you look at a project I recently visited in 
Oklahoma City, the Crosstown Expressway, a $680 million job, it took 15 
years. If you cut that in half, it saves somewhere between $60 million 
to $80 million just on the inflation alone. So that's a significant 
savings, and that's why I believe this bill has great reforms in it. It 
is something that we all need to get behind and pass.
  Again, I want to congratulate the chairman for his great work, and 
also the staff, all of the staff on the committee, both sides of the 
aisle. Both sides of the Capitol worked hard, but a special thanks to 
Jim Coon, Amy Smith, Jennifer Hall, and Jim Tymon for their tireless 
effort. There were a lot of late nights, but they did a great job, and 
we owe them a great deal of thanks for what they did.
  Again, I encourage all of my colleagues to support this bill.
  Mr. RAHALL. Madam Speaker, I'm happy to yield 1 minute to the 
gentleman from New York (Mr. Nadler), another valued conferee on our 
side.

                              {time}  1120

  Mr. NADLER. Madam Speaker, I rise in support of the transportation 
reauthorization conference report with mixed feelings. The conference 
report provides $105 billion over the next 27 months for highway and 
transit programs and will put about 2 million people to work at a time 
when we desperately need jobs. These funding levels, although far from 
adequate, are a great improvement from the original House bill and will 
allow transportation agencies to plan and construct projects important 
to the economy. The conference report also prevents student loan 
interest rates from doubling, which is critical to more than 7 million 
students.
  The transit funding formulas are focused on regions with the highest 
need and will provide essential resources for the MTA to maintain a 
state of good repair and to make capacity improvements to New York 
City's subway system. It is unfortunate, however, that the ability of 
transit agencies to flex funding for operating assistance has been 
dropped from the final bill.
  Also, unfortunately, the Transportation Enhancements program, which 
includes bicycle, pedestrian, and safe routes to schools, is reduced by 
several hundred million dollars. And the Projects of National Regional 
Significance account, which provides for essential freight projects, is 
substantially watered down.
  Thankfully, the Keystone pipeline and coal ash provisions are out of 
the bill. And although the 270-day deeming provision is no longer in 
the bill, there are other environmental streamlining provisions of 
concern, such as the expansion of NEPA categorical exclusions for any 
project within an existing right-of-way. Massive highway projects could 
occur within an existing right-of-way, but would no longer be subject 
to NEPA environmental review requirements.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The time of the gentleman has expired.
  Mr. RAHALL. I yield the gentleman an additional 30 seconds.
  Mr. NADLER. The final package is a combination of hard-fought 
victories and losses. Overall, this legislation is essential for 
creating jobs, preventing interest rates from increasing for millions 
of students, and putting us on a path toward economic recovery. 
Therefore, I urge my colleagues to support this conference report.
  Mr. NADLER. Madam Speaker, I rise in support of the transportation 
reauthorization conference report, the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 
21st Century Act or ``MAP-21'' (H.R. 4348).
  Madam Speaker, I was honored to be appointed as a member of the 
conference committee, and I was ready to negotiate in good faith to 
craft a bill that we could all be proud to support. Unfortunately, the 
process by which this conference was conducted over the last couple of 
weeks is a cause for concern and was tarnished by a lack of 
transparency and bipartisan collaboration. House Democratic conferees 
were shut out of the final negotiations. Our committee staff was not 
even allowed in the room. The bill text wasn't made available until 4 
a.m. yesterday morning, so we have had a very limited amount of time to 
review the details of this legislation. Yesterday morning, I declined 
to sign the conference report simply because I could not endorse a 
product without an adequate understanding of all of its contents, and 
of the full impact to New York. Our Senate counterparts appear to have 
struck a compromise including some important victories, as well as 
concessions of concern. The final package will provide at least $105 
billion over the next two

[[Page H4621]]

years for highway and transit programs, putting thousands of people to 
work at a time when we desperately need jobs. These funding levels are 
an improvement from the original House bill, and will allow 
transportation agencies to plan and construct projects important to the 
economy. The conference report also prevents student loan interest 
rates from doubling, which is critical for over 7 million students. As 
such, I will vote for this conference report, but with a number of 
reservations.
  The highway program appears to retain the funding structure from the 
Senate bill and essentially preserves current funding levels to the 
states. There were efforts to revise the formula, which could have 
resulted in cuts to many states, including, potentially, to New York. 
It should be considered a victory that all states are essentially held 
harmless and will benefit from this economic recovery and jobs package. 
The transit funding formulas are also focused on regions with the 
highest need, and will provide essential resources for the MTA to 
maintain a state of good repair and to make capacity improvements to 
New York City's subway system. The transit title requires a report on 
transit agencies' compliance with existing civil rights laws, and 
includes an enhanced workforce development grant program, although not 
as comprehensive as the Transportation Job Corps Act, which I 
introduced to establish a career ladder apprenticeship program. These 
are important and positive aspects of the conference agreement. I am 
extremely disappointed, however, that the Senate bill's temporary and 
targeted ability for transit agencies to flex funding for operating 
assistance has been dropped from the final agreement.
  The bill retains the Projects of National and Regional Significance 
Account as a competitive grant program that we first established in 
SAFETEA-LU, but the provision is greatly watered down and is rendered 
largely symbolic. The authorization level is scaled back to $500 
million for one year in FY13, and the funding is not guaranteed, but 
subject to general fund appropriations. The Transportation 
Appropriations bill for FY13 has already been considered in the House. 
It passed just yesterday, and there was no funding for this program 
contained in it. Perhaps we will get lucky and secure funding for it 
when the appropriations bill is conferenced with the Senate later this 
year, but the spending levels in that bill are already much too low and 
resources are strained. It's hard to see how any significant funding 
will be dedicated over the life of this bill to these projects that are 
essential to freight movement, economic growth, and global 
competitiveness. There is a requirement that DOT prepare a report on 
potential projects that would be funded under the program, so some work 
in this area will continue, but it is wholly inadequate.
  The National Freight Program originally in the Senate bill is not in 
the conference report, but the designation of a primary freight network 
and development of a national freight strategic plan is retained. For 
too long, freight has been too low of a priority, and this must be 
changed. We must make the efficient movement of freight a national 
priority. There is no greater transportation issue in the federal 
interest, and I hope that the measures contained in the conference 
report will be a stepping stone to a greater federal emphasis on 
freight policy and funding--and not an end result.
  The Transportation Enhancements program, which is now called 
Transportation Alternatives and includes bicycle, pedestrian, and safe 
routes to schools, is still in the conference report, but the program 
is weakened from current law and from the Senate bill. These projects 
have bipartisan support, as evidenced by the Cardin-Cochran amendment 
to the Senate bill, and the Petri amendment to the House bill. Despite 
the broad support for transportation enhancements, the conference 
report lowers the overall amount of funding for these projects by 
several hundred million, and expands the ability for states to use this 
funding for other purposes, including for projects already eligible 
under other highway programs.
  The Senate should be commended for keeping the Keystone Pipeline out 
of the bill, as well as the provisions limiting EPA authority to 
regulate coal ash. These are important concessions that were 
undoubtedly difficult to secure. The RESTORE Act, which would dedicate 
80% of the fines levied on BP to Gulf Coast oil spill restoration, is 
still in the bill, but it is unfortunate that the provision directing 
funding through the Land and Water Conservation Fund did not survive.
  There are problematic environmental streamlining provisions. Although 
the 270 day ``deeming'' provision is no longer in the bill, there are 
several changes to the NEPA process that will undercut environmental 
reviews and public participation. The bill sets accelerated, hard 
deadlines for environmental reviews, with penalties for failure to 
comply, but ignores the fact that many agencies are too understaffed 
and underfunded to be able to meet these deadlines. Or perhaps that's 
the point--to deplete these agencies of resources, and make it 
virtually impossible for them to effectively do their job. The bill 
also expands NEPA categorical exclusions, which are typically reserved 
for smaller-scale projects that will not have a significant impact and 
therefore no EIS is required. One provision allows categorical 
exclusions for any project within an existing operational right of way. 
Massive highway projects could occur within an existing right-of-way, 
but would no longer be subject to NEPA requirements. I find it curious 
that many of the Members who espouse local control pushed this 
provision that will severely limit the ability of communities directly 
impacted to have a voice in proposed projects. There is bipartisan 
support for environmental streamlining. I believe there are common 
sense things we could do to shorten project delivery time, but this 
conference agreement goes too far in this regard.
  The conference agreement includes several important safety incentive 
grant programs, including those targeting distracted and impaired 
driving. The bill includes additional incentive grants for states that 
adopt mandatory alcohol ignition interlock laws for individuals 
convicted of a DUI. Ignition interlocks are a key feature of Leandra's 
Law, a New York statute named for one of my constituents, a 9 year old 
girl who was killed in a drunk driving incident. I am thankful that the 
conference report contains this important provision. The conference 
report also does not include any increases to truck size or weight 
requirements and it includes a study which could provide useful 
information on truck size and weight safety impacts. The bill also 
includes improvements to motorcoach safety, requiring seat belts and 
establishing roof strength and crush resistance standards. However, 
these standards apply only to newly-manufactured motorcoaches, and 
there is no mandate to retrofit existing buses.
  This final package is a combination of hard fought victories and 
losses. There are several aspects of it that I do not support, and the 
process by which this conference report was developed was, at times, 
regrettable. But the funding levels and distributions to the states and 
transit agencies should be considered a victory, especially given the 
position of House Republicans, and the bill will put a lot of people 
back to a work at a time when we need it most. Because of the positive 
aspects of the transportation bill, and the extension of lower student 
loan interest rates, I will vote for the conference report.
  Mr. MICA. Madam Speaker, I am pleased to yield 2 minutes to one of 
the distinguished leaders in the House, the gentlelady from Illinois 
(Mrs. Biggert), who had a great deal to do with the flood insurance 
provisions--worked tirelessly.
  Mrs. BIGGERT. I thank the chairman for giving me this time.
  Madam Speaker, I rise in support of this conference report and wish 
to address particularly title II, which would reauthorize for 5 years 
the National Flood Insurance Program, or NFIP.
  There are six important reforms included in this bill: It improves 
NFIP's financial stability; it will reduce the burden on taxpayers; it 
restores integrity to the FEMA mapping system; it will help bring 
certainty to the housing market through a 5-year reauthorization; and 
last, it explores ways to increase private market participation.

[[Page H4622]]

  Many of us in Congress would like for the private sector, instead of 
taxpayers, to shoulder the risk of the National Flood Insurance 
Program. Market participants have signaled that they can assume the 
risk of flood insurance. And with the appropriate data from FEMA, the 
reinsurance industry has indicated that within weeks it can price this 
risk. That's why, for the first time in the NFIP's existence, this 
flood reform measure will require FEMA to solicit bids to determine the 
cost to the private sector, not to the taxpayer, of bearing the risk of 
flood insurance.
  Finally, I'd just like to say that this bill is proof that 
bipartisanship is possible, particularly when it comes to an issue of 
national significance, such as the most frequently occurring national 
disaster in the United States, flooding. When a flood occurs, it does 
not choose an area that has Republican or Democrat leanings or elected 
officials. Floods affect most of the country and people of all walks of 
life. Today's flood reform measure demonstrates the democratic process, 
where reforms are publicly vetted, reflect input from interested 
stakeholders, and are realized.
  Let me just thank the bill's cosponsor, Ms. Waters, as well as 
Chairman Bachus and the Financial Services Insurance Subcommittee and 
full committee staffs on both sides of the aisle. Let me just say also 
that I'd like to thank the Senate and House leadership, including 
Speaker Boehner and Leader Cantor, as well as the thousands of 
constituents and groups who gave their valuable time and input to 
making this a very good bill.
  I rise in support of this Conference Report, and I wish to address in 
particular Title II, which would reauthorize for five years the 
National Flood Insurance Program or NFIP.
  There are six important reforms included in this bill:
  It improves NFIP's financial stability; it will reduce the burden on 
taxpayers; it restores integrity to the FEMA mapping system; it will 
help bring certainty to the housing market through a 5-year 
reauthorization; and last, it explores ways to increase private market 
participation.
  Many of us in Congress would like for the private-sector--instead of 
taxpayers--to shoulder the risk of the National Flood Insurance 
Program. Market participants have signaled that they can assume the 
risk of flood insurance, and with the appropriate data from FEMA, the 
reinsurance industry has indicated that--within weeks--it can price 
this risk.
  That's why, for the first time in the NFIP's existence, this flood 
reform measure will require FEMA to solicit bids to determine the cost 
to the private sector, not to the taxpayer, of bearing the risk of 
flood insurance.
  It brings an end to the decades-old, chicken-and-egg game that has 
characterized the program by finally answering the question ``how-do-
we-get-the-government-out?''
  Flood policyholders also now will have the option to choose private 
flood insurance over government flood insurance without the risk of 
lender rejection. Taxpayer-subsidized rates are eliminated, so that the 
private sector can offer consumers increasingly competitive rates as 
compared to the NFIP.
  Finally, I would like to simply say that this bill is proof that 
bipartisanship is possible, particularly when it comes to an issue of 
national significance, such as the most frequently occurring natural 
disaster in the United States, flooding. When a flood occurs, it does 
not choose an area due to its Republican or Democrat leanings or 
elected representatives. Floods affect most of the country and people 
of all walks of life. Today's flood reform measure demonstrates a true, 
democratic process, where reforms are publically vetted, reflect input 
from interested stakeholders, and are realized.
  With that, I will note that this conference report includes the first 
significant reform to the NFIP in nearly a decade. After 17 extensions 
since 2008, multiple lapses in the program, and months of inaction, 
this flood insurance reform measure is a major bipartisan 
accomplishment. As I've said from the beginning, the NFIP is too 
important to let lapse and too in debt to continue without reform. I 
urge my House--and Senate--colleagues to support the conference report 
so that we can send this agreement to the President's desk and put the 
nation's flood insurance program back on a sound financial footing.
  In closing, let me thank the bill's cosponsor, Mrs. Waters, as well 
as Chairman Baucus, Financial Services Insurance Subcommittee and full 
committee staffs on both sides of the aisle, Senate and House 
Leadership, including Speaker Boehner and Leader Cantor, as well as the 
thousands of constituents and groups who gave their valuable time and 
input to making this a very good bill.
  I would also like to thank the following:
  My constituents in the 13th Congressional District of Illinois who 
provided advice to us throughout the development of this bill;
  Illinois floodplain managers, Paul Osman and Sally McConkey;
  Mrs. Waters, Chairman Bachus, and all of the 54 Members of the House 
Financial Services Committee who voted unanimously to pass out of 
Committee a flood reform bill last May (2011);
  All of the Members of the House who contributed to the development of 
this bill, and the 406 Members of the House who voted for H.R. 1309 
last July (2011);
  Republican House Financial Services Committee staff: my designee, 
Nicole Austin, as well as Clinton Jones, Ed Skala, Tallman Johnson, Jim 
Clinger, and Eric Thompson;
  Democrat House Financial Services Committee staff: Charla Ouertatani, 
Dom McCoy, and Kelly Larkin;
  House Republican and Democrat leadership, particularly Speaker 
Boehner and Majority Leader Cantor, and their staff;
  Members and staff on the Science, Judiciary, and Rules Committees;
  Senators and Senate Banking Committee staff;
  Dan Hoople with the Congressional Budget Office;
  Paul Callen and his colleagues at the House Office of the Legislative 
Counsel;
  FEMA staff, including technical experts, congressional affairs, and 
Vince Fabrizio;
  Witnesses who testified during our hearings on flood reform; and
  All of the various financial services organizations, consumer groups, 
as well as the Smarter Safer Coalition, which includes groups from the 
National Wildlife Federation to the International Code Council to 
Americans for Tax Reform.
  Mr. RAHALL. Madam Speaker, I'm happy to yield 2 minutes to the 
distinguished ranking member on our Railroads Subcommittee and a valued 
member of our conference, the gentlelady from Florida (Ms. Brown).
  Ms. BROWN of Florida. I had much higher hopes for this transportation 
reauthorization bill and long for the days that our committee worked 
together in a bipartisan manner, but this is a good day for the 
traveling public and for the American economy. This transportation bill 
will strengthen our infrastructure, provide quality jobs, and serve as 
a tool to put the American people back to work.
  Although I would have preferred a long-term bill with much more 
funding for infrastructure, and I'm disappointed that we did not 
include a rail title or give our local transit agencies the flexibility 
they asked for during these economic times, this bill will give States, 
local governments, and other transportation stakeholders some stability 
to plan and build critical transportation projects.
  This bill provides steady funding for both highway and transit 
programs, maintains the 80-20 split between highway and transit, speeds 
up the permitting process for projects, includes important safety 
measures that will save lives, and maintains OSHA oversight of 
hazardous materials.
  I am also pleased that this legislation includes the RESTORE Act, 
which will help gulf States like my State of Florida recover damages 
and plan for and prevent future oil spills. Florida's economy is based 
on tourism and would be destroyed overnight if an oil spill reached our 
beaches.
  This isn't a perfect bill, but I am going to vote for it. I want to 
thank the Senate, and I want to thank Senator Boxer, Mr. Mica and Mr. 
Rahall, and all for working together. My understanding is that this is 
a clean bill and we can vote for it. No riders are included is my 
understanding. So I will vote for it, and I will recommend my 
colleagues vote for it too.
  Mr. MICA. Madam Speaker, I am pleased to yield 1\1/2\ minutes to one 
of the leaders of transportation, new on the committee, but a conferee; 
did an outstanding job, the gentleman from Indiana (Mr. Bucshon).
  Mr. BUCSHON. Madam Speaker, as a member of the House transportation 
conference committee, I join my colleagues in proudly supporting this 
legislation.
  My House colleagues and I attended many of the conference 
negotiations, and we fought hard for commonsense transportation 
reforms. This bill streamlines the environmental review process, 
consolidates and eliminates duplicative programs, and provides more 
flexibility to the States. Passing this legislation will provide job 
security for millions of Americans.

[[Page H4623]]

  I'm grateful to my House and Senate colleagues that stood with me in 
opposing an amendment that was in the Senate bill. This amendment 
unfairly punished the State of Indiana for pursuing a public-private 
partnership. Not only would it have cost Indiana millions in 
transportation funding, but it would have set our country backwards in 
innovative transportation policy. This type of thinking is not where we 
need to be headed in transportation policy. We need to put taxpayers 
first and continue to engage the private sector in transportation 
projects.
  I would like to thank the House and Senate staff, who have been 
working tirelessly on the legislation. I thank Chairman Mica, Senator 
Boxer, and Senator Inhofe for their leadership on this issue. Thanks to 
everybody's work, 25,000 Hoosiers will have job security for the next 2 
years.
  I urge all of my colleagues to support this legislation, and let's 
put millions of Americans back to work.
  Mr. RAHALL. Madam Speaker, I'm happy to yield 2 minutes to the 
distinguished ranking member on our Committee on Oversight and 
Government Reform, as well as a valued member of our conference on 
transportation, the gentleman from Maryland (Mr. Cummings).
  Mr. CUMMINGS. Thank you, Ranking Member Rahall, and thank you for 
your leadership. I also thank Chairman Mica and all of my colleagues.
  This bill provides certainty for our States, but overall funding for 
highways is reduced relative to fiscal year 2011. To ensure our 
Nation's mobility, we need expanded investments in all modes.
  Critically, this bill finds that discrimination and related barriers 
continue to pose obstacles for minority and women-owned business in the 
transportation industry. My colleagues and I have considered the 
extensive evidence provided to us in testimony in the Transportation 
Committee and detailed disparity studies documenting ongoing 
discrimination in transportation contracting. We've concluded there is 
a compelling national interest in reauthorizing our DBE programs. I 
thank Senator Boxer for her leadership on this issue.
  That said, I'm disappointed that House Democrats' participation in 
the conference was so limited. And as I have had the chance to review 
the final report, several of its provisions deeply concern me--perhaps 
none more so than section 100124, which would reduce by one-third the 
percent of food aid shipped on U.S. vessels.
  There are fewer than 100 U.S.-flagged vessels in the foreign trade 
now, and they carry less than 2 percent of U.S. cargos. Without the MSP 
and cargo preference programs, we would have no domestic merchant 
marine, leaving our military, and indeed, our economy, completely 
dependent on foreign vessels.

                              {time}  1130

  The effect of section 100124 will be to speed the continuing decline 
of our fleet. It should never have been included in this bill, and it 
should be immediately repealed.
  With that, I am going to support the bill and urge my colleagues to 
support it.
  Mr. MICA. Madam Speaker, I am pleased to yield 2 minutes to the 
distinguished gentlewoman from West Virginia (Mrs. Capito), who has 
worked very hard for a provision, and she's going to explaining the 
situation that brings her here at this point.
  Mrs. CAPITO. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and ranking member and the 
conference committee, for what I think is a victory today. I think this 
reauthorization bill is one of the most important responsibilities we 
have. It's a jobs bill. It will bring efficiencies to our funding 
stream for very important projects, and it will remove a lot of 
uncertainty.
  As a member of this committee, I'm really, really pleased that we 
were able to come to a compromise. The efficiencies and the 
streamlining, when the chairman brought the committee to Yeager 
Airport, that was one of the resounding complaints about current 
funding in the transportation sector is it takes too long, it's too 
expensive, and time is money. And we can do a lot better job with more 
efficiencies and make our dollars go farther. And with hard deadlines 
and some exemptions, I think that this bill will do that.
  There are a couple of provisions in here that I regret were not 
included, and most specifically, the provision on the coal ash 
provision. I mean, we're looking at a time where we have scant 
resources. We have to make smart decisions about how to weave the 
balance between our environment and our economy; and the coal ash 
provision would have provided, I think, the certainty to the 
construction industry and to those surrounding, also, the coal industry 
that smart use and responsible use of coal ash would be in our future.
  Unfortunately--and I believe it occurred in the Senate that that 
provision was not included in our bill, and I'm deeply disappointed by 
that. But we will, as an energy State and as energy representatives, 
we'll live to fight another day.
  Additionally, I would like to say, as a member of the Financial 
Services Committee as well, the reason that the flood bill is on this 
bill is extremely important, again, to lend the certainty to lenders, 
Realtors, homebuilders, and really, the consumer that we can get that 
housing market moving again; and the certainty provided by the 
reauthorization of the flood bill in here will provide us with that.
  But I simply want to say that I think that in a bicameral, bipartisan 
way we moved together to show folks in West Virginia and across this 
Nation that we can work together to create the jobs that we need in the 
sectors that we need, and I look forward to supporting the bill.
  Mr. RAHALL. Madam Speaker, I am happy to yield 1 minute to the 
gentlewoman from California (Ms. Waters), who has higher jurisdiction 
over the flood insurance portion.
  Ms. WATERS. Madam Speaker, I'm pleased that we could work in a 
bipartisan fashion to not only extend our expiring transportation and 
student loan interest rate programs, but to also reform the Federal 
flood insurance program.
  I'd like to thank Representative Judy Biggert for her leadership and 
commitment to reforming flood insurance. Representative Biggert and I 
both worked together to meet the needs of our respective caucuses, and 
the result is a bill that puts the flood insurance program on a solid 
footing.
  The flood insurance program provides insurance for over 5 million 
Americans. However, due to massive losses from Hurricane Katrina and an 
inefficient mapping system, the flood insurance program has faced 
challenges in serving homeowners and taxpayers.
  The Biggert-Waters bill will reauthorize the National Flood Insurance 
Program for 5 years and make critical improvements to the flood 
insurance program. The reforms in this bill will make flood insurance 
more affordable, give communities more input into flood maps, and 
strengthen the financial position of the flood insurance program.
  With that, I would urge an ``aye'' vote.
  Mr. MICA. Madam Speaker, I am pleased to yield 1\1/2\ minutes to the 
gentlewoman from Washington (Ms. Herrera Beutler), another conferee and 
a young leader in the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
  Ms. HERRERA BEUTLER. Thank you, Chairman Mica. And I'd like to thank 
you and your staff for working tirelessly on this issue.
  For the past several months, both House and Senate Members and staff 
have been working around the clock, and through tough negotiations we 
were able to work in a bipartisan, bicameral way to produce something 
that has direct impact on the lives of the folks I serve in southwest 
Washington.
  I'm well aware the perception that this Congress is having difficulty 
getting things done, and I fought for us to stay at the table to keep 
working to push through for solutions to demonstrate our ability to put 
America's needs ahead of politics; and today, Madam Speaker, we were 
successful.
  Particularly folks in my home district in southwest Washington State 
are excited that the House fought for vital reforms that are going to 
allow us to cut project delivery times down, even by half in some 
instances. That means dollars are going to go further, more projects 
are going to get done, and more money will be available for additional 
projects. That sets us up for more jobs.

[[Page H4624]]

  We're also giving rural communities the necessary support to fund 
schools, emergency services, and roads while we come up with a more 
permanent solution that allows for increased and better forest 
management. My thanks to Chairman Hastings and his committee for their 
tireless work on this issue.
  We also have projects of national and regional significance: the 
Recreational Trails Program that benefits trail riders, hikers, outdoor 
enthusiasts, all in my beautiful district down in southwest Washington.
  We've supported using the Harbor and Maintenance Trust Fund for its 
intended purposes: improving our waterways that are economic arteries 
for places like Washington State and around the country.
  Mr. Chairman, this bill is not perfect, no bill ever is. However, 
this is a symbol of how Congress is supposed to operate and why we're 
here.
  With that, I urge its passage.
  Mr. RAHALL. Madam Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the gentleman from 
Pennsylvania (Mr. Altmire), a valued member of our Committee on 
Transportation and Infrastructure.
  Mr. ALTMIRE. Madam Speaker, it's been 7 years since the Congress 
enacted a long-term highway authorization; and since that law expired 
in 2009, State transportation agencies across America have had to deal 
with the uncertainty of looming funding expirations, construction 
workers have not known whether there would be jobs available to them, 
and motorists, retailers, and manufacturers have watched our 
infrastructure continue to crumble as this body continually failed to 
act. We cannot wait any longer. That's why I'm pleased today Congress 
will finally pass a long-term authorization that will provide certainty 
that has been lacking for years.
  I'm also pleased that the final conference report includes a 
provision I authored to make America's roads safer for older drivers. 
By improving the safety of our roads and highways and making older 
drivers' travel as safe as possible, we increase road safety for every 
American.
  This bill is an example of the success Congress can achieve when we 
work together. I thank my colleagues for their dedication to our 
Nation's infrastructure, and I'm proud to support this bill.
  Mr. MICA. Madam Speaker, I'd like to inquire as to how much time 
remains on both sides.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman from Florida has 5 minutes 
remaining, and the gentleman from West Virginia has 14\1/2\ minutes 
remaining.
  Mr. MICA. I will continue to reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. RAHALL. I reserve the balance of my time, Madam Speaker.
  Mr. MICA. Madam Speaker, if the gentleman from West Virginia is ready 
to close, I am ready to close, also.
  Mr. RAHALL. Okay. I'm ready to close, and I yield myself such time as 
I may consume.
  Madam Speaker, first I want to extend my deep appreciation to all 
conferees on this legislation, some 47, I believe.
  I'd like to pay particular word of commendation to the chair of the 
conference committee, the gentlelady from California, Senator Barbara 
Boxer. She worked extremely hard on this legislation. She worked 
tirelessly to resist many, many, many extreme proposals that were 
lobbed at her by Republican House conferees. She worked to ensure that 
policies and investment levels of this legislation will serve America, 
and she did work in a bipartisan fashion.
  I'd also like to thank my counterpart and the chair of our House 
Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Mr. Mica, for his 
leadership. He has already spoken, and has many times, of the 
bipartisan nature in which we started this journey in my hometown of 
Beckley, West Virginia, and I deeply appreciate the hearings that he 
started there and his continued outreach across the country.

                              {time}  1140

  As this hard road progressed, there were some diversions along the 
way. There were efforts to sidetrack what we were trying to do in 
providing long-term funding for this Nation's infrastructure, yet we're 
here today to hail not the perfect bill--we've heard that many times in 
this body, and we're not considering the perfect bill. Yet we are, out 
of necessity, finding ourselves working together to extend our 
transportation program so that millions more American workers are not 
laid off the job.
  I also want to thank my senior Senator, Jay Rockefeller, the chairman 
of the Senate Commerce Committee, for his great contribution to this 
pending measure. Again, efforts were fought. Efforts on his part 
prevented the further degradation of any safety measures that were 
proposed in this conference agreement. We have a strong measure in 
regards to safety issues thanks to Senator Rockefeller.
  This legislation will preserve American jobs. As I said in the 
opening of this conference committee, it's time that we quit taking 
those political jabs at one another and, rather, provide jobs for our 
people. That's what we're doing in this legislation. The contracting 
season is late, especially in many of our northern States, and our 
contractors need this legislation in order to have the certainty to 
sign those contracts that put Americans to work this summer repairing 
our infrastructure. We have put aside, I guess you'll say, our hard 
heads--I'm happy to say--in exchange for hard hats doing the work 
that's necessary to get our economy back on.
  As with any piece of legislation, we've compromised in this bill--all 
sides have--which is part of the legislative process. I've always said 
that. There are some things in this bill we don't like and some things 
we like. There are probably 435 different ways this bill could have 
been written if each of us had had his own way to write a bill, but 
that's not the way the process works. With the process being what it 
is, we are where we are today, so I am here to support the pending 
legislation.
  As I sit down, I want to also thank the staff for their hard work on 
both the majority's side in the House and on the minority's side, on 
our side, and the staff on both sides of the other body as well.
  I want to thank our conferees on the House side: Peter DeFazio, Jerry 
Costello, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Jerry Nadler, Corrine Brown, Elijah 
Cummings, Leonard Boswell, and Tim Bishop. These individuals stuck with 
us every part of the way, and they truly had their hearts in improving 
our infrastructure and providing jobs for America.
  So this is a jobs bill. I'm happy to support it, and I urge my 
colleagues to support this conference agreement.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. MICA. I yield myself the balance of my time.
  Madam Speaker, it is good to be at this point in the completion of a 
long overdue, major transportation reform bill for the Congress and for 
the American people.
  First, I will take a moment and thank our staff:
  Jim Tymon, who is next to me here, is the tireless staff director of 
the Highway Subcommittee. He is day and night helping to sort things 
out, looking out for the people and making certain this bill has the 
very best provisions; Dan Veoni; Shant Boyajian; Geoff Strobeck; Joyce 
Rose; Fred Miller; Steve Martinko; Justin Harclerode, who is my press 
secretary, or assistant. He has always had to explain what I've said or 
at least clarify; Jason Rosa; my sidekick, Clint Hines, who has 
followed me on the floor with so many member requests; Jennifer Hall, 
our outstanding legal counsel; Amy Smith has some real firepower for 
good policy for the country and for transportation for the Nation; and 
then our untiring leader of the committee, Jim Coon, our staff 
director, who day and night neglected his beautiful family for the 
benefit of the people of this country;
  Then we even retired Jimmy Miller in the process, who headed this up 
for many, many years in the service to our Nation and the committee. He 
retired in the process, hopefully not as a result of all the hard work. 
He is a great American;
  Then there is Stephanie Kopelousos, who was on our team for a while. 
She is the former Secretary of Transportation from Florida, and she 
organized the Secretaries around the United States--I think the 
forward-thinking ones--to help us go through the laws and all the mess 
that we've created and redline it and get rid of the bureaucracy, the 
duplication, the costly red tape.

[[Page H4625]]

  So our hats are off to all of them and to so many more and to all of 
our distinguished colleagues who were conferees who worked on this.
  We actually engaged members in discussion, which is a new approach to 
a conference committee. We did that, but I'm sorry the other side was 
thrown under the bus, some by the administration, and particularly Mr. 
Oberstar, for whom I feel so bad because he waited so long and could 
never see this day. Then, in the process, we did not draft the 
legislation; Ms. Boxer's staff did. So, again, if there was anyone who 
felt that he didn't participate enough, I tried not to be responsible 
for that approach in having started, as I said, the first hearing in 
Beckley, West Virginia, Mr. Rahall's hometown, going all the way to the 
west coast to have an unprecedented, historic bipartisan and bicameral 
hearing in California with Barbara Boxer, who chaired the conference 
committee.
  So this is where we are. Tomorrow would actually close down thousands 
of transportation projects. Departments of Transportation around the 
country were on the verge of actually giving sort of IOUs or of giving 
notification to close down, and probably millions would have been put 
out of work if we hadn't acted. So this is very important for the 
American people, particularly at this time when we're on the cusp of 
not knowing which way the economy is going to go, but it has to go 
forward.
  There are some things in here that are also great: the RESTORE Act; 
student loans from which our students will benefit; national flood 
insurance from which people in my States and others will see 
reductions; transportation safety was paramount; there was a 
consolidation of some of the programs, streamlining, cutting red tape. 
We were able to do more with less and move transportation forward for 
the Nation.
  Again, I thank everyone for their cooperation. I am pleased that 
we've reached this point. It doesn't have everything, and a lot of 
people said it couldn't be done. As my son often says--and I'll close 
with his remarks, and he likes the Cable Guy--``Dad, git-r-done.''
  Son, we got-r-done today.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. COSTELLO. Madam Speaker, I rise in support of the conference 
agreement on H.R. 4348, the Surface Transportation Extension Act of 
2012.
  As a conferee on the surface transportation bill, I am glad an 
agreement was reached and the bill is before us today.
  I am pleased that Illinois' share of federal highway formula funding 
increased to 3.67%, the highest level that our state has received in 
over 15 years.
  In addition, the conference report does not include language that 
would allow bigger and heavier trucks on our roads and bridges, but 
instead requires the U.S. DOT to conduct a comprehensive, national 
study.
  While the surface transportation conference report is not perfect, it 
does provide certainty to State DOTs, transit agencies, and contractors 
that will help create and sustain jobs for out-of-work Americans and 
keeps construction workers on the job for the rest of the season.
  I commend Chairman Mica, Ranking Member Rahall, Subcommittee Chairman 
Duncan and Ranking Member DeFazio for their leadership in helping to 
bring this conferenc report before us today.
  Finally, this legislation does not include residual risk provisions 
in the National Flood Insurance program that would have required the 
purchase of flood insurance for communities behind certified levees. A 
strong bi-partisan effort prevailed to remove these provisions from 
this legislation, and I commend Congressman Shimkus, Senator Durbin, 
and Senator Kirk for working with me on this matter.
  I urge my colleagues to support the conference report and yield back 
the balance of my time.
  Ms. BORDALLO. Madam Speaker, I rise today in strong opposition to 
H.R. 4348, the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-
21). This bill significantly cuts critical federal investment in 
surface transportation projects for the territories. The authorized 
funds for the next two fiscal years would severely undermine my 
district's ability to improve and upgrade road systems on Guam and put 
current projects at risk.
  MAP-21 cuts 20 percent from the Territorial Highway Program (THP), 
which was established to assist Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, 
American Samoa and the U.S. Virgin Islands build and improve main and 
secondary highway systems. The program is critical to ensuring that our 
districts have a quality highway system that facilitates commerce in 
the territories. The territories have received funding that does match 
their current upgrade and modernization requirements. The cuts to the 
THP will hinder our district's ability to meet these requirements over 
the next two years. The proposed cut to this program, about $8 million 
for Guam over the next two years, could jeopardize financiering for 
larger projects utilizing GARVEE financing. The GARVEE financing 
mechanism and current bonds assumed level funding of the THP over the 
next several years. Ultimately, this bill may lead to project 
cancellations and job losses.
  Even at current funding levels, the THP is inadequate in addressing 
the needs of the territories, and the governments in the territories do 
not have access to many programs available to the 50 states and Puerto 
Rico. I introduced legislation that would put the territories on equal 
footing when competing for federal highway discretionary grant 
programs. Further, I offered the text of my bill for consideration as 
Conference Committee commenced but the text of this legislation was not 
included in the final bill. On top of crippling cuts to the THP, the 
territories are not even afforded opportunities to compete for other 
discretionary programs like the Innovative Bridge Research and 
Deployment program. My bill, H.R. 2743 would permit the Secretary of 
Transportation to make the territories eligible for this competitive 
funding to the territories and remedies a disparity where our 
governments are unable to even compete for this program.
  Madam Speaker, H.R. 4348 will likely have a detrimental effect on my 
constituents and would significantly undercut our ability to improve 
our roadways and invest in critical infrastructure improvements. Guam 
is being asked to support one of the largest military realignments in 
our nation's history and our island is in critical need of assistance 
to improve our roadways to support the military buildup. Cutting 20 
percent from the THP would provide nominal short-term savings but it 
would cost significantly more in the long-term.
  However, I am very supportive of the efforts of House and Senate 
leaders who reached agreement to freeze student loan rates for an 
additional year. Increases in student loan rates would have had a 
significant negative impact on a generation that is already competing 
with the most difficult job market in generations. Keeping student loan 
interest loans for an additional year keeps our commitment to our 
younger generations.
  It is unfortunate that this compromise on student loans is attached 
to the transportation reauthorization as I strongly opposed to the cuts 
to the THP and, as such, urge my colleagues to oppose this legislation.
  Mr. HOLT. Madam Speaker, I rise today in strong support of H.R. 4018, 
the Public Safety Officers' Benefits Improvements Act, of which I am a 
cosponsor, and I thank my colleague from across the Delaware River, Mr. 
Fitzpatrick, for his work on this extremely important issue.
  During the early morning hours of August 28, 2011, as Central New 
Jersey was bearing the brunt of Tropical Storm Irene, the Princeton 
First Aid and Rescue Squad was called to investigate a vehicle 
submerged in raging floodwaters with the occupants possibly trapped 
inside. Michael Kenwood, a 39-year-old volunteer emergency medical and 
rescue technician, entered the water tied to his partner in an attempt 
to reach the stranded vehicle. The two quickly realized that the 
current was too strong and tried to turn back, but Michael lost his 
footing and was sucked into the current. When he was pulled from the 
water, Michael was unconscious and not breathing. Michael died later 
that day, leaving behind a wife, Beth, and 3-year-old daughter, Laney. 
The submerged car turned out to be empty.
  Michael's death was a tragedy. But what compounded this tragic 
situation was the fact that, under current law, Michael's family was 
not eligible for federal death benefits because he was a volunteer 
member of a non-profit organization. This is just wrong. Michael's 
sacrifice would be no different if he had been a member of a paid fire 
department or EMS agency, and federal law should treat it as such. When 
he was called to enter those floodwaters, Michael did not stop to 
think, ``I don't get paid for this should I do this?'' He answered the 
call just like thousands upon thousands of others do each and every 
day, risking their lives in the service of others, regardless of 
whether or not they are paid.
  This legislation would expand federal benefit programs for the women 
and men who volunteer for fire departments and rescue squads and are 
injured or killed in the line of duty. Quite simply, it is the right 
thing to do. I am glad to see this bill being brought to the floor and 
I urge my colleagues to support it here today.
  Last Saturday, Michael's name was added to the National EMS Memorial 
in Colorado Springs, Colorado. I would ask that my colleagues join me 
in remembering Michael's sacrifice, and those made by the other police 
officers, firefighters, and emergency medical responders who put their 
lives on the line each and every day to protect ours.

[[Page H4626]]

  Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. Madam Speaker, the Conference Agreement on H.R. 
4348, Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2012 unfairly places the 
financial burden on the smaller territories--American Samoa, the 
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), Guam, and the U.S. 
Virgin Island (USVI). Specifically, the agreement would result in a 20-
percent reduction for each of the smaller territories under the 
Territorial and Puerto Rico highway program (Div A, Title 1, Subtitle 
A, Section 1114) for FY 2013 and FY 2014.
  The territorial highway program underscores federal commitments to 
sustain economic development in the territories as well as to ensure 
safe highways in our communities. Funding from the territorial highway 
program has provided for the construction and improvement of highways 
and roads, critical infrastructure for commerce and transportation in 
the territories.
  Mr. Speaker, any cuts to these critical funding could prove 
devastating to the economies of the smaller territories, yet we face 
the same challenges--the high cost of energy and transportation--as 
everyone else across the country.
  Similarly, the initial version of the Highway Reauthorization bill 
that the House passed earlier this year would have replaced the Highway 
Trust Fund as the funding source for the Territorial Highway Program, 
with a less stable source.
  For these reasons, the territorial delegates wrote a joint letter to 
the Conference Committee on April 26. We specifically highlighted the 
need to maintain the current funding levels for the territorial 
program. In addition, we asked that the territories be made eligible 
for certain discretionary grants and planning grants programs.
  I am pleased that the conference agreement would keep the Highway 
Trust Fund as the funding source for the Territorial Highway Program. 
While I am disappointed to know that the smaller territories are given 
the brunt of the budgetary cuts to bear, I am hopeful however that the 
territories would be made eligible for certain discretionary grants and 
planning grants programs. These additional grants could help mitigate 
some of the financial issues as a result of the proposed reduction.
  Mr. LANGEVIN. Madam Speaker, a rare thing has happened today. 
Republicans and Democrats in the House and Senate have reached a 
compromise for the greater good of the American people. Today we will 
vote on three critical measures: a long-term transportation extension, 
a long-term flood insurance extension, and a one-year continuation of 
current rates for need-based student loans.
  Each of these is of critical importance to our nation's economic 
recovery. This legislation will create or save more than 2 million 
jobs, including approximately 9,000 in Rhode Island, by authorizing 
highway and transit programs through 2014.
  Unfortunately, in order to secure an agreement, the conferees 
included some provisions in this bill with which I disagree. I am 
disappointed that the legislation threatens critical environmental 
funding and protections and fails to expand funding for the Land and 
Water Conservation Fund, which provides matching grants for our state 
to acquire land and water for the benefit of all Rhode Islanders. I 
will work to restore these resources in the future, but on balance this 
is a good agreement that will benefit communities and workers across 
our state.
  I am also pleased that this measure prevents the Stafford loan 
interest rate from doubling to 6.8 percent on July 1 for 7 million 
college students, saving them $1,000 over the life of their loans. 
However, I am concerned that the bill cuts the student loan program by 
limiting the amount of time a student qualifies for a loan to 150 
percent of the program's length and eliminates the six-month interest 
subsidy grace period after a student has graduated. Too many students--
especially those from low-income families--face unnecessary barriers to 
pursuing a college degree, and it is our responsibility to empower them 
by investing in their education.
  Thousands of jobs in Rhode Island have been on hold, waiting for 
Congress to act This delay was needless, and this legislation is long 
overdue. Nowhere is our nation's fragile recovery more apparent than in 
my home state of Rhode Island, with an unemployment rate of 11 percent. 
I applaud the Conferees for their tireless efforts to craft this 
compromise, which will bring loan relief to our students, provide flood 
insurance to our homeowners, and allow our states and cities to move 
forward on the path to rebuilding our roads, our communities, and our 
economy.
  Mr. HINOJOSA. Madam Speaker, I rise in strong support of the 
underlying bill, the Conference Report to H.R. 4348, legislation that 
will keep student loans affordable for more than 7 million students: 
4.5 million of whom are women, 1.5 million of whom are African-
American, and nearly one million of whom are Latino.
  This legislation will prevent interest rates on need-based student 
loans from doubling on July 1st, from 3.4 to 6.8 percent and provide 
much-needed relief to students and families.
  This will save students an average of $1,000 over the life of their 
loan. In my home state of Texas, approximately 461,533 borrowers will 
benefit from this congressional action.
  As you know, student debt is skyrocketing, with the average borrower 
graduating with loan debt of $25,000. According to the Consumer 
Financial Protection Bureau, total outstanding student loan debt 
surpassed $1 trillion late last year.
  As Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Higher Education and 
Workforce Training, I urge my colleagues to vote for this bill and to 
work in a bipartisan manner to reaffirm Congress' strong commitment to 
accessibility and affordability in higher education.
  Together, we must address the rising cost of higher education and the 
ever-increasing amount of debt that students are being burdened with.
  Young people in our communities must know that Congress is working 
hard to ensure that they have a bright future and access to an 
affordable, high-quality education--one that prepares them to lead 
healthy and prosperous lives.
  With that, I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to vote 
for this bill.
  Ms. BORDALLO. Madam Speaker, I rise today in strong opposition to 
H.R. 4348, the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-
21). This bill significantly cuts critical federal investment in 
surface transportation projects for the territories. The authorized 
funds for the next two fiscal years would severely undermine my 
district's ability to improve and upgrade road systems on Guam and put 
current projects at risk.
  MAP-21 cuts 20% from the Territorial Highway Program (THP), which was 
established to assist Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, American 
Samoa and the U.S. Virgin Islands build and improve main and secondary 
highway systems. The program is critical to ensuring that our districts 
have a quality highway system that facilitates commerce in the 
territories. The territories have received funding that does match 
their current upgrade and modernization requirements. The cuts to the 
THP will hinder our district's ability to meet these requirements over 
the next two years. The proposed cut to this program, about $8 million 
for Guam over the next two years, could jeopardize financiering for 
larger projects utilizing TIFIA financing. The TIFIA financing 
mechanism and current bonds assumed level funding of the THP over the 
next several years. Ultimately, this bill may lead to project 
cancellations and job losses.
  Even at current funding levels, the THP is inadequate in addressing 
the needs of the territories, and the governments in the territories do 
not have access to many programs available to the 50 states and Puerto 
Rico. I introduced legislation that would put the territories on equal 
footing when competing for federal highway discretionary grant 
programs. Further, I offered the text of my bill for consideration as 
Conference Committee commenced but the text of this legislation was not 
included in the final bill. On top of crippling cuts to the THP, the 
territories are not even afforded opportunities to compete for other 
discretionary programs like the Innovative Bridge Research and 
Deployment program. My bill, H.R. 2743 would permit the Secretary of 
Transportation to make the territories eligible for this competitive 
funding to the territories, and remedies a disparity where our 
governments are unable to even compete for this program.
  Madam Speaker, H.R. 4348 will likely have a detrimental effect on my 
constituents and would significantly undercut our ability to improve 
our roadways and invest in critical infrastructure improvements. Guam 
is being asked to support one of the largest military realignments in 
our nation's history and our island is in critical need of assistance 
to improve our roadways to support the military buildup. Cutting 20% 
from the THP would provide nominal short-term savings but it would cost 
significantly more in the long-term.
  However, I am very supportive of the efforts of House and Senate 
leaders who reached agreement to freeze student loan rates for an 
additional year. Increases in student loan rates would have had a 
significant negative impact on a generation that is already competing 
with the most difficult job market in generations. Keeping student loan 
interest loans for an additional year keeps our commitment to our 
younger generations.
  It is unfortunate that this compromise on student loans is attached 
to the transportation reauthorization as I am strongly opposed to the 
cuts to the THP and, as such, urge my colleagues to oppose this 
legislation.
  Mr. STARK. Madam Speaker, I rise today in reluctant support of the 
Transportation and Student Loan Agreement (H.R. 4348). We must prevent 
interest rates on student loans from doubling as they are set to do 
tomorrow. We must reauthorize our transportation programs and get 
people to work rebuilding our

[[Page H4627]]

infrastructure. This legislation, while far from ideal, accomplishes 
both of those worthy goals.
  The bill does leave much to be desired. It invests far too little in 
the infrastructure investments we need, it restricts the ability of 
part-time students to afford college, underfunds transit, biking, and 
pedestrian projects, its ``Buy America'' provision is weak, and it 
includes a pay-for that could further weaken our pension system. 
However, given the situation we are in, passing it today is the 
responsible thing to do.
  Continuing their trend of governing through hostage taking and 
brinksmanship, the Republican Majority has once again brought the 
nation to the edge of a vital program--in this case, Surface 
Transportation--expiring. More than three months ago, the Senate 
overwhelmingly passed a bipartisan, job-creating transportation bill 
with 74 votes. Instead of taking up that bill, as myself and many of my 
colleagues and the President urged, Republicans brought up a hyper-
partisan bill that included numerous anti-environmental riders, gutted 
mass transit, and ended investments in pedestrian and bicycle 
infrastructure. Compared to that debacle, today's legislation is a vast 
improvement. It does not contain provisions mandating that the tar 
sands pipeline be built or that EPA rules on safe disposal of coal ash 
be undermined. Instead of slashing mass transit, it maintains funding. 
Most importantly, it will support more than 2 million American jobs, 
including 180,000 in California, rebuilding our nation and providing 
some certainty for California and other states to move forward with 
much needed infrastructure projects.
  The student loan issue is another example, much like the payroll tax 
cut at the end of last year, of Republicans refusing to act in the 
interest of the American people until their hand is forced by 
overwhelmingly public opinion. On March 29th, House Republicans voted 
to allow student loan interest rates to double when they passed the 
Ryan Budget. They voted to increase rates on 7 million students, 
including 570,000 California students--the equivalent of a $1,000 
education tax on these students and their families. After hearing an 
outcry from the public and feeling political pressure to act, the 
majority finally changed their tune. I wish that the interest rate fix 
we are voting on today was for longer than a year and I also wish we 
were not paying for it, in part, by punishing part-time students by 
taking away interest deferment for those students. But compared to 
allowing the interest rate hike staring millions of students in the 
face to go into effect, passing this legislation is the right thing to 
do.
  Mr. CAMP. Madam Speaker, I rise today in support of the Highway 
Conference Report. This bill helps to provide the funding that cities 
and towns depend on to develop and maintain the infrastructure they 
need to attract businesses to locate in their communities and create 
jobs. However, given the current fiscal challenges facing our country, 
we must ensure that meeting those obligations does not further hamper 
an already weak economic recovery.
  This legislation reflects that effort and serves as a reminder that 
Washington must learn to live within its means. To that end, House 
Republicans ensured that the provisions in this conference report 
promote job creation and do not add to the national debt.
  First and foremost, the Conference Report rejects nearly $7 billion 
in tax hikes included in the Senate bill. From higher taxes on private 
investment in infrastructure to redundant and ineffective tax 
enforcement measures, House Republicans were able to prevent $7 billion 
in costly tax hikes on the nation's families and businesses during a 
time when our economy is still struggling to get back on its feet.
  In addition to preventing these job-killing tax hikes, the Conference 
Report also adopts necessary reforms to the Pension Benefit Guaranty 
Corporation--or PBGC--resulting in greater accountability to taxpayers, 
the pension plans who participate in PBGC's insurance program, and 
workers who depend on PBGC to insure their retirement needs. 
Importantly, these reforms will also protect taxpayers from being on 
the hook for potential bailouts in the future.
  Along with these critical reforms, this legislation provides 
companies who sponsor pension plans with some important funding relief 
made necessary by the stagnant economy, while also requiring greater 
accountability and transparency so that resources are correctly 
accounted for and used in a way that puts workers first.
  Specifically, to address the failed policies of the Obama 
Administration that are squeezing employers and pension plans, there 
has long been bipartisan support for some form of pension funding 
relief. Liabilities in pension plans are often calculated by using an 
average of interest rates on corporate bonds over the prior two years. 
In response to an extremely weak Obama economy, the Federal Reserve has 
driven interest rates to historic lows and kept them there. Combined 
with plan investment policies, this has substantially increased the 
value of plan liabilities, resulting in ``a rising tide'' of required 
pension contributions (to quote a report by the Society of Actuaries). 
The pension funding relief provided in this conference report will 
allow companies to spread these skyrocketing required contributions 
over a long period of time, rather than forcing employers to divert 
resources in the near term from other business activities such as 
hiring, expansion or pay increases.
  Pension funding relief is necessary, but so too are reforms that 
provide greater protection, accountability and transparency to the 
workers who depend on the PBGC, and taxpayers who should not be called 
upon to bailout PBGC. That is why this Conference Report includes 
several necessary PBGC reforms that were not included in the Senate 
bill to protect against a taxpayer-funded bailout. Those reforms 
include:
  Disclosure requirements so participants in pension plans know of any 
shortfalls;
  Adjustments to PBGC fees, including for multiemployer plans, which 
currently pose the greatest risk to PBGC;
  Reforms to PBGC's governance structure;
  The establishment of a new PBGC Risk Management Officer;
  A required annual peer review of PBGC's insurance modeling systems; 
and
  The termination of PBGC's unsecured $100 million line of credit from 
the U.S. Treasury.
  Madam Speaker, we have passed nine extensions of the highway bill. 
Today we have an opportunity to put an end to the ``stop and start'' 
and take more significant steps toward a longer-term set of solutions. 
I urge my colleagues to join me in passing this Conference Report.
  Mr. RYAN of Wisconsin. Madam Speaker, I commend the Speaker, Chairman 
Mica, Chairman Camp, the conferees and their staffs for their work on 
this surface transportation reauthorization conference bill. With a 
history of short-term extensions and bailouts of the highway trust fund 
since the last highway bill was enacted, to the credit of Chairman Mica 
and the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, they acted at the 
beginning of this year to report legislation to fundamentally reform 
this program to put it on a sustainable basis. While H.R. 4348 does not 
ultimately achieve that goal, it makes progress and the Chairman, the 
Committee, and the leadership are to be commended for that effort. For 
the first time, it offsets general fund transfers to the highway 
programs to keep the program operating through September, 2014. The 
bill also is at current level funding, earmark free, reduces the 
federal bureaucracy by consolidating transportation programs, and cuts 
red tape to institute significant reforms to complete major 
infrastructure projects. Relative to the Senate highway bill that 
irresponsibly relied on taxpayer bailouts for highway spending and past 
funding practices, the conference bill before us today is an 
improvement.
  Despite this bill's progress, it does not address the structural 
problems in our transportation programs and I have some concerns with 
some aspects of the legislation.
  First, though the Highway Trust Fund was intended to be financed at 
the level of gas tax revenues, Congress has increased spending for the 
program well beyond gas tax revenue levels. As a result, the fund has 
increasingly operated in the red by relying on general fund transfers 
to pay for annual funding shortfalls. The trust fund has required three 
large general fund transfers, or taxpayer contributions, totaling $35 
billion since 2008. Over the next decade, the Congressional Budget 
Office (CBO) anticipates the Highway Trust Fund to run cash deficits in 
total of $105 billion, even upon enactment of today's bill. Through a 
budgetary loophole, these transfers of general taxpayer revenues are 
not captured for budgetary effects, allowing Congress to bail out the 
program without being recorded as a net increase in spending or 
deficits.
  The FY 2013 House budget resolution, H. Con. Res. 112, included a 
reform to close the budget loophole for general fund transfers to 
ensure future transfers are fully offset and assumed potential funding 
streams in the form of new oil and gas revenues for the Highway Trust 
Fund. Congress needs to continue to reform the critical highway program 
to put it on sound financial footing without further bailouts with 
borrowed money. H.R. 4348 makes an important effort to offset the $18.8 
billion in general fund transfers contained in the bill. But, instead 
of continuing to rely on general fund transfers going forward, we need 
to address the systemic factors that have been driving the trust fund's 
bankruptcy.
  In terms of the bill's cost estimate, according to CBO, the unified 
budget impact of the entire bill is $16 billion in net deficit 
reduction over ten years. However, under traditional budget scoring, 
this does not include the cost of general transfers to the highway fund 
nor the flood insurance reforms' net income. When considering the bill 
under House budget enforcement per its budget resolution, if we include 
the costs of higher spending under scored general fund transfers and 
the flood insurance income, it leads to a small deficit reduction over 
ten-years.

[[Page H4628]]

  Second, I am concerned with H.R. 4348's use often-year savings to 
finance two years of spending. We need to be reducing spending and 
deficits and when we increase spending, we should be offsetting the 
cost in as short a timeframe as possible.
  Based on CBO scoring, the bill produces ten-year savings from pension 
law changes, but some of these changes come with long-term costs. It 
appears possible that any savings gained in the ten-year window may be 
offset by greater federal obligations in the future. I expressed my 
concern over a similar `smoothing' provision when used in past 
legislation.
  Finally, this bill extends the current interest rate on certain 
student loans for another year. This is another example where Congress 
established a temporary subsidy with sudden expiration dates and no 
plans for next steps. I believe it is imperative that we work toward 
responsible, long-term reform in this area. Congress must stop playing 
games with students' interest rates to score political points. A well-
educated population is critical to higher incomes and stronger economic 
growth, but our current education programs have serious problems. The 
right question is not should the interest rate be 3.4 or 6.8 percent. 
The focus should instead be on how developing an effective, fair and 
sustainable process for providing capital to students one that ensures 
access to higher education without fueling tuition inflation and 
exposing the taxpayer to unacceptable levels of risk. I look forward to 
working with my colleagues to achieve such reforms.
  Mrs. CAPITO. Madam Speaker, I am pleased to see that H.R. 4348 
includes pension reform provisions that will allow businesses to invest 
more to create jobs, while generating over $9 billion in Treasury 
revenue over the next 10 years. H.R. 4348's pension reforms are 
critical to help businesses create jobs in a struggling economy.
  However, I am concerned these vital reforms will be incomplete if 
financial reporting requirements known as Generally Accepted Accounting 
Principles do not conform to H.R. 4348's changes in law. H.R. 4348 does 
not provide a deadline to adjust these financial reporting requirements 
to match the bill's pension reforms.
  We should expect prompt harmonization between the law and how pension 
obligations are reported on companies' financial statements. If there 
is not harmonization many company balance sheets will be required to 
show inflated liabilities that H.R. 4348's pension reforms seek to 
address.
  The clear policy of H.R. 4348 is that pension funding be calculated 
by a more stable, long-term method. I expect, and Congress should 
expect, that financial reporting requirements conform with Congress's 
clear intent on this issue. Financial statements should be consistent 
with the rate stabilization set forth in this legislation.
  Mr. PALAZZO. Madam Speaker, I want to thank the Chairman for bringing 
this bill to the floor, and for all the hard work of our conferees in 
getting us to this point.
  Today, I rise before you to remind this body one last time of the 
importance of Gulf Coast recovery and the importance of passing the 
RESTORE Act.
  Less than a year ago, a small group of Gulf Coast legislators came 
together with big support from their communities, and a mission to make 
the Gulf Coast whole.
  This was no small effort. But it is the least we could do to show our 
support once more to all those affected by the single largest manmade 
disaster in our history.
  I am proud to have been a part of this landmark legislation. I want 
to thank all those who worked so hard with us to make this happen--from 
my Gulf Coast colleagues to local leaders, business interests to 
conservation groups.
  There were many who said this could not be done in an election year, 
with so much competing for time on the legislative calendar. But we 
knew how important it was to pass this bill.
  We did not give up because we knew that restoring and replenishing 
the Gulf Coast is more than just a responsible decision; it is the 
right thing to do.
  Mr. DINGELL. Madam Speaker, I rise today in support of H.R. 4348. 
While this is not a perfect bill, it will fund important transportation 
projects while creating well-paying jobs across this country.
  H.R. 4348 will reauthorize through the end of fiscal year 2014 our 
highway and transit programs at current levels--$105 billion. While I 
am disappointed in this short-term reauthorization, I do believe this 
authorization will provide some stability to our state and local 
governments. We know that for every $1 billion of federal funds 
invested in our highway and transit infrastructure nearly 39,000 jobs 
are created or sustained. This investment will give our transportation 
industry the ability to continue to create thousands of jobs across our 
country.
  I am also extremely pleased that all states will be guaranteed a 
minimum rate of return of 95 percent on their payments into the Highway 
Trust Fund. During the last reauthorization I worked hard with my 
colleagues on both sides of the aisle to increase Michigan's rate of 
return to 92 percent, and I am pleased to be able to support increasing 
it once again. This bill will continue the Safe Routes to School 
program, and the transportation enhancement activities such as bike 
paths, bike lanes, and trails. This program has been critical to 
helping communities in my district, like Ann Arbor, to make their 
communities more livable and attractive to families and businesses, 
while also greening our environment by providing alternatives for their 
commute. Furthermore, I am pleased that H.R. 4348 will continue to fund 
our mass-transit program, providing funding to critical projects that 
will bring our transit infrastructure into the 21st Century.
  I am disappointed that H.R. 4348 did not reauthorize the Coordinated 
Border Infrastructure program. Michigan was one of the leaders in 
creating CBIP given its critical relationship with Canada and it has 
been instrumental in addressing border congestion. It is my hope that 
we can reauthorize this program in the coming months. Unfortunately, 
this bill does not include any provisions directing the Department of 
Transportation to develop a long-term national rail plan. I passed one 
of the first pieces of legislation authorizing investment in high-speed 
rail, but there has never been a strong commitment to bringing our rail 
program into the 21st Century until this Administration. This 
Administration has wisely invested billions of dollars into bringing 
highspeed rail travel across the country and to corridors outside the 
Northeast. By ignoring this goal we are halting the progress of high-
speed rail and falling further behind our neighbors abroad.
  I would have liked for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, or LWCF, 
reauthorization and funding to be included in the final bill. LWCF was 
included in the Senate language with overwhelming bipartisan support 
and I joined with 145 of my House colleagues requesting the conference 
committee to include the reauthorization and funding. LWCF develops 
local partnerships to conserve critical wildlife habitat, hunting and 
fishing access, state and local parks, productive forests, and 
important lands to be protected for future generations. I hope the 
House will give serious consideration to reauthorizing and funding LWCF 
in the coming weeks.
  This bill includes a one-year extension of the 3.4 percent interest 
rate for subsidized Stafford student loans. I am happy that this is 
finally being authorized because as we continue to recover 
economically, we must ensure that students can afford a higher 
education. There were nearly 48,000 students attending a university or 
college in my district last year who received one of these loans and 
doubling the interest rate would have a significant impact on students 
as they get ready to start the new school year. Our children, 25 
percent of our population, are 100 percent of our future. They are 
counting on us and I am pleased we are now standing up for the future 
to make higher education and job training affordable.
  While we are taking a step forward today, we must start thinking 
towards next July when this one-year extension will expire. We cannot 
wait until the last minute to address this issue as we did this year. 
We must start thinking now about how to deal with this problem. This is 
not just a campaign talking point, this affects students and families 
and can be the difference between achieving your goals or being priced 
out of your dreams.
  The Flood Insurance extension is a much needed part of this 
compromise. As we continue to experience extreme weather across the 
country, we need to ensure that homeowners with flooded homes can get 
the help they need to put their lives back together. However, as FEMA 
works on implementing new floodplain maps, we must ensure that the maps 
make sense. Homeowners and small businesses in my district are being 
driven out of the homes and stores due to the high cost of flood 
insurance that they've never had to pay before. I urge FEMA to continue 
to work with local governments to address these concerns and keep 
families in their homes and small businesses open.
  I applaud this bill, and I hope my colleagues keep working together 
in this manner--actually passing bills that make a difference and take 
action instead of playing political football on issues that do not 
impact the majority of Americans.
  Ms. JACKSON LEE of Texas. Madam Speaker, I rise today in support of 
H.R. 4348 the ``Surface Transportation Conference Agreement.'' More 
than 100 days ago, the Senate passed a bipartisan, job-creating 
transportation bill to rebuild America--that is similar to the bill we 
are taking up today.
  This bill will create or save more than 2 million jobs, authorize 
highway and transit programs for more than two years at current levels, 
make key reforms consolidating transportation programs, and leverage 
federal resources to expand public-private partnerships in 
transportation.
  However, regarding the education of our Nation in making college more 
affordable has always been a top priority of Democrats. In

[[Page H4629]]

2007, the Democratic-led Congress enacted legislation that cut the 
interest rate on need-based student loans in half--to 3.4 percent--over 
five years.
  Unfortunately, under current law, that reduced rate expires and 
doubles to 6.8 percent on July 1.
  This Congress cannot sit by and let students suffer and be denied a 
chance at making a better future and a brighter tomorrow because we 
failed to act. I am determined to see that students have a chance to 
learn, to aspire, and to dream.
  If we don't pass this bill with common-sense pay-fors, we are setting 
up a roadblock to dreamers, in essence telling them that education can 
be foreclosed on because we did not do our jobs.
  If the current rates expire the average student faces an increase of 
$1,000 each. In doing nothing, House Republicans are, putting more 
barriers in the way of millions of Americans already struggling to pay 
for a higher education. It is time for Republicans in Congress to stop 
playing politics with students' futures and come to the negotiating 
table.
  Minority and Women Contractors. Regarding set-asides to ensure that 
minority, women and other disadvantaged businesses are able to compete 
for transit and highway contracts, the conference report continues the 
program and includes key findings regarding discrimination in 
transportation contracts to ensure that these important provisions are 
upheld if ever challenged. These provisions are not expanded to rail, 
which is not authorized in the bill.
  Although I am disappointed the bill does not include rail, it is 
important that as we move forward, transportation contracts, whether it 
be for airlines, bus, rail, or even little red wagons, women and 
minorities are able to compete on equal footing with the old boy's 
network.
  I have supported this reauthorization at least 16 times since 2008. 
The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) has been invaluable for 
victims and potential victims of flooding in Texas.
  Congress must extend authority for the NFIP to write or renew flood 
insurance policies, which are required in order to obtain a mortgage in 
the 100-year floodplain. This is an issue of importance to not just the 
coastal states but in nearly every state.
  Just a month ago the Houston Association of Realtors was in town and 
came to advocate for a reauthorization but as a practical matter would 
prefer--like many Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle--a 
long-term, 5-year reauthorization for this important measure.

  The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) was established in 1968 
in response to increasing federal government spending for disaster 
relief. Standard homeowners insurance does not cover flooding and 
therefore offers no protection from floods associated with hurricanes, 
tropical storms, heavy rains and other conditions. The NFIP mandates 
that federally regulated or insured lenders require flood insurance on 
properties that are located in areas that have a high risk of flooding.
  As Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Transportation Security and 
Infrastructure Protection of the Committee on Homeland Security, I 
understand as well as anyone that supporting and securing our Nation's 
transportation systems are critical to ensuring the free movement of 
people and commercial goods. But I also know that, in the strained 
economic circumstances that we currently face, it is equally imperative 
that we allocate limited resources in a way that maximizes their 
capacity to improve the lives of as many Americans as possible.
  I am pleased that the Conference Agreement measure includes 
provisions to strengthen highway and motor carrier safety programs. The 
legislation consolidates National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 
incentive grant programs, and increases funding flexibility for states 
that qualify for safety incentive grants. The measure also improves 
motor carrier safety in a balanced manner.
  As the Representative of 18th Congressional District of Houston, 
Texas, I am keenly aware of our transportation needs. Houston needs 
infrastructure to relieve congestion and provide adequate public 
transportation, but it also needs this because an investment in 
Houston's New Start Transit Project means jobs for Houston's 
constituents through the transportation sector in its communities and 
around the Nation.
  However, I must balance the needs of my constituents. This funding is 
critical for funding existing and pending surface transportation and 
infrastructure projects while we pursue longer term solutions in the 
face of a misplaced focus on spending cuts. We must work together to 
forge a bipartisan long-term solution to our Nation's transportation 
and infrastructure needs.
  Economic experts universally agree that funding the critical and 
necessary infrastructure projects nationwide creates jobs for America 
and increases our level of global competitiveness. There is an intense 
competition between fiscal responsibility and investment in job growth 
& infrastructure.
  We must make investments in job creating infrastructure projects in 
order to grow the US economy. We must be winners in contest for 
economic change now and for our children's future. We cannot be the 
losers. We must catch the wave of economic growth or be crushed by it. 
China, India and Europe understand this because they have committed to 
greater investments in their infrastructure.
  As I think of my home District, the 18th Congressional District in 
Houston, Texas and its busy ports, much like the other ports around 
this great nation, I am compelled to urge my colleagues to consider the 
pressing national necessity of decongesting the surface transportation, 
both rail and highway, that moves the goods in and out of those ports.
  We must improve this surface transportation system in order to 
accommodate national economic health, global competitiveness, and to 
avoid harm to agriculture industry, maritime jobs and manufacturing 
jobs. Maritime jobs and construction jobs for infrastructure provide a 
good middle class wage, allow workers to get educations at night, and 
lower crime rates in our cities.
  We must invest in High Speed Rail. We have about 500 miles of high 
speed rail in process, but China has about 10,000 miles being built! We 
need to have a domestic talent pool with the required knowledge, skills 
and trained workers to do projects like high speed rail or we will be 
paying for skilled Chinese companies to do it for us.
  Infrastructure Investment is a Non-Partisan Issue: If the AFL-CIO and 
U.S. Chamber of Commerce have teamed up to promote infrastructure 
investment, then surely the Democrats and Republicans in this Congress 
can do the same. Moreover, now is the time for us to consider the 
creation of a long overdue National Infrastructure Bank and Public-
Private partnerships to shift our infrastructure improvement into full 
gear. We should not shy away from this issue when a nation is waiting 
for us to do our part to restore our economy through fortification of 
our infrastructure. It is time for another large, bold, national 
forward thinking infrastructure project like interstate highway system.
  Governors and Mayors at ground level around this nation will quickly 
confirm that Infrastructure investments create jobs, help balance 
budgets, and grow both state and national economies. We must listen to 
our local elected officials who must fix the potholes, repair the 
crumbling bridges and tunnels or be held directly accountable by their 
constituents on every street corner. Our local elected officials will 
quickly tell us that infrastructure investment creates jobs, because it 
attracts business!
  The American Association of Civil Engineers (ASCE) gives U.S. 
Infrastructure the Grade of ``D'' in its 2009 Report Card. 
Infrastructure Investment equals Jobs! But, the U.S. is falling behind 
its competitors in infrastructure development (especially China, India 
& Europe). The bottom line is that Transportation and Infrastructure 
Investment is needed for a Strong Economy.
  So, I say to my colleagues that we weight this measure carefully. A 
delay in enactment of this Conference Agreement will shut down more 
than $800 million next month in highway reimbursements and transit 
grants to States and urban areas, endangering more than 28,000 jobs and 
multi-million dollar construction projects across the country.
  As Ranking Member of the Transportation Security Subcommittee at the 
House Committee on Homeland Security, I have continuously supported the 
increase in adequate resources aimed at enhancing the efficiency, 
safety and security of our rail and mass transit systems.
  This Congress, I introduced the ``Surface Transportation and Mass 
Transit Security Act of 2011'' which seeks to authorize adequate 
resources and program attention to surface and mass transit security 
programs at the Transportation Security Administration.
  To this end, the bill authorizes additional surface inspectors needed 
to validate security programs impacting our surface and mass transit 
security. The bill also creates mechanisms to strengthen stakeholder 
outreach, makes key revisions to the public transportation security 
assistance grants program and increases canine teams and resources for 
surface and mass transit modes.
  I must say that I am pleased today that our colleagues have come 
together in a bipartisan and bicameral manner to create a Conference 
Agreement that will put Americans back to work.
  Mr. TIBERI. Madam Speaker, many employers have reassured me that the 
pension stabilization language included in the Surface Transportation 
Extension Act of 2012 will allow them to invest more to create jobs and 
will prohibit a reduction in their workforce. I hope this is the case 
and that these pension reforms will help businesses create jobs in a 
struggling economy.

[[Page H4630]]

  However, H.R. 4348 does not make changes to the financial reporting 
requirements known as Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) 
to allow companies to reflect the reforms on their balance sheets. The 
end result of this is that many company balance sheets will be required 
to show inflated pension liabilities that the reforms seek to address.
  There is also no guidance provided to the overseeing entities of GAAP 
on how to conform these reforms and accounting requirements.
  The pension stabilization language is meant to allow companies to 
calculate their pension funding status through a more stable, long-term 
method. There should be consistency between the law and how pension 
obligations are reported on companies' financial statements.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. All time for debate has expired.
  Pursuant to House Resolution 717, the previous question is ordered.
  The question is on adoption of the conference report.
  The question was taken; and the Speaker pro tempore announced that 
the ayes appeared to have it.
  Mr. RAHALL. Madam Speaker, on that I demand the yeas and nays.
  The yeas and nays were ordered.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to clause 8 of rule XX, further 
proceedings on this question will be postponed.

                          ____________________