Unfortunately, Republicans continue to practice the politics of confrontation and hostage taking, and it is severely damaging our economy and the livelihoods of people across our nation. As Leader Reid pointed out, we have been for months now holding 309 million Americans and the entire country hostage, to the threats of taking us over the precipice into default. Because of the work of the White House, Leader Reid, Leader Pelosi and others, we avoided that at the last minute. However, 75,000 people are now over the precipice and worrying about whether the people in Washington on the Republican side of the aisle are going to responsibly say ‘enough.’ These are people who are responsible for modernizing our airports, building new runways and helping our infrastructures keep pace with the rest of the world. While our competitors continue to invest in infrastructure and growth, America is losing ground. This is why, every day, because of Republican hostage taking. For the sake of more than 75,000 Americans, waiting to work, willing to work, wanting to work, and we have asked them to work, for the sake of economic competitiveness, it's time for Republicans to put our country first, and these workers, first, before themselves, before the petty politics they are pursuing and work with us to forge a long-term compromise in September. But there's a bill in the House of Representatives introduced by Congressman Jerry Costello that could be passed within hours, that Speaker BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerDems face hard choice for State of the Union response Even some conservatives seem open to return to earmarks Overnight Finance: Trump, lawmakers take key step to immigration deal | Trump urges Congress to bring back earmarks | Tax law poised to create windfall for states | Trump to attend Davos | Dimon walks back bitcoin criticism MORE would simply agree to unanimous consent agreement, and Leader Reid, if Mr. McConnell would agree to unanimous consent agreement, could pass this within hours. Or pass the bill that is in the Senate.

We need to act on this issue now. 75,000 Americans demand it, our country demands it, and it's irresponsible to hold hostage these people and our country and the safety of our airways, pending some petty political gain that might be reached.