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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
February 12, 2004
Statement on Highway Bill
Statement by the Press Secretary
The President has charted a course for cutting the budget deficit in half in five years. We must fund our priorities of winning the war on terror, defending the homeland, and creating jobs -- and we must hold the line on spending in other areas.
The President's budget proposes a responsible $256 billion in highway and transit spending, which represents a 21 percent increase over the previous six-year period and a responsible approach to improve highway safety and curb congestion. The President also has made clear that he will oppose a highway bill that increases the gas tax, taps the general Treasury, or hides the true cost to taxpayers.
With passage of an excessive $318 billion highway funding bill, the Senate today missed an important opportunity to rein in spending. It is disappointing that the bill significantly exceeds the President's budget and fails to meet the responsible principles outlined by the Administration.
The President is committed to work with Congress to pass a highway bill that adheres to principles of spending restraint. The President's senior advisers will recommend a veto of any highway bill that includes excessive spending and violates these principles, including the bill passed by the Senate.