Republicans turn page on old ways?

Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) insisted on Saturday that Republicans have turned the page on "spending free-for-all" bills that are "bloated with earmarks."

Shuster, the chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said the $12.3 billion infrastructure bill heading to President Obama's desk is what can happen when Democrats "work with us."

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"Traditionally this bill was bloated with earmarks, a spending free-for-all. It is the worst of all worlds," he said in Saturday's weekly Republican address. "So Republicans have turned the page on the old ways. We’re setting hard deadlines and cost limits. We're cutting out the outdated projects, the unnecessary bureaucracy. And there are absolutely no earmarks."

The Senate passed the water projects proposal on Thursday in a 91-7 vote, after the House gave it near unanimous support last week. The project, aimed to boost U.S. ports and waterways, was the result of a bipartisan, bicameral conference committee. It has been nearly a year since the Senate passed its initial version last May. 

"At its core is a foundation for long-term job growth," Shuster said. "Not just jobs in construction, but also jobs that depend on and are created by a modern, efficient transportation system.”

Without the bill, water infrastructure is becoming "more obsolete by the day," he said. Shuster said it can currently take up to 15 years to study a project and the costs keep going up, leading to the United States becoming less competitive. 

"We’ve pushed Senate Democrats to match our focus on jobs," he said. "And soon, we expect the president to sign one of our ideas into law."

The bill points out more than $12 billion worth of funding for new water infrastructure projects, including long-sought projects to deepen some ports.

"This is progress," he said. "When you entrusted Republicans with the majority in the House, we pledged to do some simple, important things."