Pres. Obama to Turn Up Heat on Congress Over Highway Trust Fund

By: CBS News
By: CBS News

July 14, 2014

CBS News - President Obama will announce executive actions this week during a series of planned events that will put the spotlight on the Highway Trust Fund.

Congress has been debating how best to fund infrastructure improvements as the fund gets closer to running dry next month.

Executive actions by Mr. Obama have angered Republicans, who claim he's doing too much on his own, bypassing lawmakers. But the president says he has to, since congressional Republicans continue to stonewall his initiatives.

A White House official who prefers to remain anonymous tells CBS News, "The president has been very clear that we need to do more to improve our infrastructure in order to create jobs, provide certainty to states and communities, help American businesses, and grow our economy, and he has put forth a proposal that would do just that and pay for it by closing unfair tax loopholes and making commonsense reforms to our business tax system. "The president has acted on his own using his executive authority, including speeding up permitting for priority projects to create more jobs, and the president will announce new executive actions on infrastructure this week."

Mr. Obama has ratcheting up pressure on Congress to take action to keep the Highway Trust Fund solvent. Otherwise, many projects already underway at risk.

"This week," said the official, "Congress will consider a solution to avoid that scenario, and the President will continue to urge Republican lawmakers to not block it.

Among other events on tap this week, the White House will release a report Monday from the Council of Economic Advisors and National Economic Council on the long-term economic benefits of transportation investment.

On Tuesday, Mr. Obama will deliver remarks on the importance of investing in infrastructure innovation at the Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center in McLean, a leading facility testing new technologies for highway transportation innovations

And on Thursday, he will visit an infrastructure site in Delaware, where he will announce an executive action designed to increase private sector investment in our nation's infrastructure. Also on Monday, the official says, the White House will release an interactive transportation map that enables Americans to learn more about the condition of their state's roads and bridges -- as well as how many jobs - nearly 700,000 across the nation -- and active highway and transit projects would be jeopardized if Congress fails to pass a new transportation bill before the current one expires Sept. 30.


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