Wasserman Schultz Touts Transportation Bill

Bill Expires At End Of September

DAVIE, Fla. - U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Weston, District 20, chose a location adjacent to construction widening Interstate 595 on Thursday to illustrate the need for Congress to pass a new transportation bill when members return to Washington next week.

The current transportation bill, which authorizes an 18.4 cents-per-gallon gasoline tax, expires at the end of September.

"Normally, extending this bill would be done without any controversy," the congresswoman told Local 10 political reporter Michael Putney , "but in this divided Congress, you don't really know what to expect."

Wasserman Schultz, who also chairs the Democratic National Committee, blames Republicans in Congress allied with the tea party for the deep partisan divisions that made it so hard to reach an agreement on deficit reduction.

One of those GOP House members is U.S. Rep. Allen West, R-Plantation, District 22, who last month called Wasserman Schultz "despicable" and "the worst member of the House."

Asked if she had spoken to West since his comments, Wasserman Schultz smiled and said, "No."

As for differences between President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner over the timing of a nationally televised speech on jobs, Wasserman Schultz said it was unprecedented for a House speaker to turn down a president's request to speak before a joint session of Congress.

Obama had asked to speak to a joint session next Wednesday night, but Boehner asked the president to delay the speech. A TV debate between GOP presidential candidates was already scheduled the same night.

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