After spending the last week traveling across Louisiana, I’ve been able to hear from folks around the state who are worried about jobs, gas prices, and Congress’ seeming inability to get much done.
Now that I’m back in Washington, I have an opportunity to work on all of these issues. I’m an original cosponsor of the Senate highway bill, and now that both the Senate and the House of Representatives passed versions the bill, it heads to a legislative conference committee. The role of the conference committee is to settle the legislative differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill. And fortunately, I’ve been named to the conference committee to finalize it.
As the only member of the Louisiana delegation on the conference committee, I will advocate for three priorities: RESTORE, RAMP, and the Keystone XL pipeline. I am an original cosponsor of both the RESTORE Act, which would ensure that at least 80% of the fines BP must pay under the Clean Water Act would be set aside for Gulf Coast states rather than just going into a general fund, and the RAMP Act, which helps restore the revenue from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund for maintenance and dredging. I am also the ranking member of the subcommittee that had jurisdiction over the bill and worked to pass it through the Environment and Public Works Committee unanimously in November 2011.
Both the RESTORE Act and the RAMP Act have been added to the Highway Bill as amendments. As an original cosponsor, I’ll place keeping both the RESTORE and RAMP language in the bill as an absolute top priority. The Senate bill we passed with broad bipartisan support, which included RESTORE, should be the foundation for our final bill. Including legislation to expedite the Keystone XL pipeline would ensure our House colleagues support the bill, too.
Click here to watch my remarks in a recent conference committee hearing.
Louisiana’s coast and our ports play such an important role for our national economy that I’ll be pushing to get bipartisan consensus. Now that versions of the Highway Bill passed in both the House and the Senate, you can be assured that I will do my part to make sure RESTORE and RAMP remain in the final version of the bill.
United States Senator