By Timothy Cama
President Obama used his weekly address Saturday to hit House Republicans on their inaction in transportation infrastructure funding while trying to draw a stark contrast between him and the GOP on job creation.
Obama warned that federal funding for transportation projects will run out this summer if Congress doesn’t act soon on a highway bill.
“States might have to put some of their projects on hold,” he said. “In fact, some already are, because they’re worried Congress won’t clear up its own gridlock. And if Congress fails to act, nearly 700,000 jobs would be at risk over the next year.”
Last month, Obama unveiled a $302 billion, four-year infrastructure proposal, paid for in part by corporate tax reform. The Senate has started working in a bipartisan, $265 billion transportation plan that a committee approved this week.
But the GOP has a different plan, Obama said.
“Not only have they neglected to prevent this funding from running out, their proposal would actually cut by 80% a job-creating grant program that has funded high-priority transportation projects in all 50 states,” he said.
Obama said he’ll visit Cooperstown, N.Y., home of the Baseball Hall of Fame, to talk about tourism’s benefits for the economy Tuesday. He touted a program he created to encourage foreign companies to bring jobs to the United States, and efforts to ease the permitting process for infrastructure.
But he contrasted those actions with Republicans, saying that instead of working with him to create jobs, they voted to cut taxes for households making more than $1 million a year.
“All these steps will make it easier for businesses to invest in America and create more good jobs,” he said of his policies. “All of them can be done without Congress. But we could do a lot more if Congress was willing to help.”