Obama urges Congress to pass transportation bill, save jobs

President Obama on Saturday called for Congress to skip the political posturing in Washington and pass measures funding the nations transportation programs.

In his weekly address, the president said a failure to pass a surface transportation bill would put a stop to highway construction, bridge repair [and] mass transit systems.

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Usually, renewing this transportation bill is a no-brainer, Obama said in his weekly address. In fact, Congress has renewed it seven times over the last two years. But thanks to political posturing in Washington, they haven’t been able to extend it this time — and the clock is running out.

The president said almost 1 million workers could be in danger of losing their jobs over the next year if Congress delays funding for too long. 

The existing transportation bill expires Sept. 30. Differences between the House and Senate could prevent an extension of the transportation bill, just as they delayed legislation to extend authority for the Federal Aviation Administration in August. That dispute left thousands of workers furloughed for more than a week.

Earlier in the week, Obama brought AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and Chamber of Commerce COO David Chavern together at the White House to push for a transportation bill. On Saturday, he brought the labor and business leaders up again.

This isn’t a Democratic or a Republican issue — it’s an American issue, Obama said. That’s why, last week, I was joined at the White House by representatives from the AFL-CIO and the Chamber of Commerce — two groups who don’t always see eye-to-eye, but who agree that it’s critically important for our economy that Congress act now.