July 29, 2015


Washington, D.C. - Today, Congressman Joaquin Castro (TX-20) released the following statement after voting in favor of H.R. 3236, the Surface Transportation and Veterans Health Care Choice Improvement Act of 2015:

"The transportation funding bill the House passed today not only provides reassurance for the hundreds of thousands of workers and thousands of vital construction projects across the country that depend on federal funding, it fills the budget shortfall for the Department of Veterans Affairs' (VA) hospitals. Providing this much-needed funding for the VA will keep hospitals and medical centers open and ensure San Antonio veterans' continued access to the health care and medical services they need and deserve. 

"By only assuring three months' worth of transportation funding, today's legislation shortchanges our highway workers and compromises crucial arteries of commerce. Infrastructure funding is particularly important to Texas, one of the fastest growing states in the country. If we hope to support an increasing population and expanding economy, we must ensure our state's highways and bridges are sound. Continuing to pass short-term highway funding extensions is the equivalent of only filling up your car's tank with a couple dollars' worth of gas each time you stop to refuel; while you may get where you need to go, the process will be inefficient and filled with uncertainty. Businesses and motorists deserve a sustainable, long-term transportation funding measure that allows our state and country to achieve a safe, viable surface infrastructure system.  

"Additionally, House Republicans left a provision to reauthorize the Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank out of this bill. The Ex-Im Bank - which has been expired since June 30 - is an agency that provides crucial financing to small- and medium-sized businesses, operates at no expense to taxpayers, and keeps American products and companies globally competitive. Not only did the Ex-Im Bank sustain 164,000 export-related American jobs last year, it has created or sustained 1.5 million private sector jobs since 2007. The pro-business Ex-Im Bank is fiscally responsible and has a history of receiving overwhelming bipartisan support in Congress. It's a shame that Republicans are starving the bank of funding and denying American entrepreneurs the assistance they need to get their dreams off the ground. 

"Despite this legislation's shortcomings, I voted in favor of it to support our veterans and to prevent highway construction projects across America from coming to an abrupt halt. Moving forward though, Congress should pass a long-term, sustainable transportation funding bill and extend reauthorization for the job-supporting Export-Import Bank."