R . BR U C E J O S T E N

1615 H STREET, N.W. WASHINGTON, D.C. 20062-2000 202/463-5310

March 26, 2012 TO THE MEMBERS OF THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than three million businesses and organizations of every size, sector, and region, is deeply disappointed that Congress is not going to complete reauthorization of highway and transit programs by March 31. America needs a highway and transit bill that can pass both the House and Senate and be signed by the President. Inaction is not an option. Congress has no choice but to pass an extension in order to avoid a surface transportation programs shutdown and to allow collection of Highway Trust Fund user fees for payment of obligations that have been already been incurred. Frankly, there is no length of extension adequate for the construction industry, its workers, and the business community in general. There is no real certainty or continuity in extensions, and extensions do not serve to make highway and transit systems work better for businesses, large or small. An extension is not the best course of action, but it must be done. We commend the Senate for passing a bipartisan bill. The Chamber calls on the House to schedule floor time for a transportation bill immediately upon returning from the next district work period. The Chamber has been clear that both the Senate bill, S. 1813, and the House bill (H.R. 7 as reported out of committee) have merits and shortfalls. The House and the Senate need to move swiftly to a conference and develop a final measure that the President will sign. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Camp and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Baucus must find a mutually agreeable set of payfors. Congressional Budget Office estimates lay bare the necessity of identifying resources to fill the gap between what is coming into the Highway Trust Fund and what is needed to maintain funding levels. The Chamber supports spending reductions, rescissions of authority and other savings measures to pay for a multi-year bill with much-needed policy reforms and funding certainty. The Chamber opposes deficit spending, or levying retroactive tax increases or other punitive tax increases to pay for this bill. This week, Congress must pass an extension long enough to complete the longest possible reauthorization that is paid for and can be enacted into law to bring certainty and predictability into building and repairing the nation’s highway and transit networks. By mid-April, the House must take action on its own legislative package so that a bill can be conferenced and sent to the President’s desk as soon as possible. Sincerely,

R. Bruce Josten

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