04NR34 - Congress Passes Fifth TEA Extension; August Recess Begins

Motorcycle Riders Foundation
P.O. Box 1808
Washington, DC 20013-1808
202-546-0983 (voice)
202-546-0986 (fax)
http://www.mrf.org (website)

Contact: Jeff Hennie, MRF Vice President - Government Relations jeff@mrf.org (e-mail)

July 23, 2004

#04NR34 - Congress Passes Fifth TEA Extension; August Recess Begins

The MRF has been informed of another extension of the highway bill currently stymied in the conference committee process.

The House and the Senate passed a two-month extension on July 22 of the current surface transportation law that was to expire at the end of this month. This extension (HR 4916) will extend the funding authority of the last highway bill until September 30th 2004. This is the fifth extension of the legislation that funds the nations highway and mass transit programs. The original endpoint was September 30th 2003; this most recent extension brings the process full circle one year later. Both the House and Senate adjourn on July 23rd for a month long August Recess that is book ended by a Democratic Convention in Boston (7-26 through 7-30) and the Republican Convention in New York City (8-30 through 9-3).

The conference process, where the differences in the House and Senate bills are to be worked out, has been slow to say the least. Conferees agreed that both the Senate and the House must come to an agreement on an overall spending level of the bill. That agreement has yet to be reached after a conference that began June 9th of this year.
Senators on the conference committee have twice now extended a formal offer to the House. First Senator Inhofe (R-OK), who is chairing the conference, offered the Senate passed number of 318 Billion, the House refused to accept that number. The second offer made July 20, 2004 of 301 billion was countered by the House conferees with 299 billion; as of July 22 no agreement has been reached. Once an acceptable number is agreed upon, the conference can begin to work out the hundreds of other issues in the 800-page bill that need to be worked out. While this is a popular bill and has tremendous bi-partisan support, political and timing issues continue to lengthen an already monstrous process.

House and Senate conferees remain dedicated to finishing the process before the end of the 108th congress, which is set to adjourn on October first, one day after the most recent extension expires. The MRF is working with state motorcycle rights organizations and Members of Congress to fight for the inclusion of the motorcycle language which is in place in the House passed version of the highway bill (HR 3550).

August Recess is coming; don't give your Members of Congress the month off!

The Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) urges you to call your Congressmen's local offices to ask if they are planning to hold any town hall meetings or other open forums during the Memorial Day district work period. If they are, please share the dates, times, and locations with the MRF and your State Motorcyclists' Rights Organization (SMRO). You can find contact information for your U.S. Representative and your two U.S. Senators by visiting the following websites: Representative information at http://www.house.gov/writerep/ and Senate information at http://www.senate.gov.

If you do plan to attend a district meeting with your Congressman, be sure to prepare some specific questions ahead of time. At this point the MRF is focused on three specific pieces of legislation:

1. The reauthorization of the Transportation Equity Act (TEA), which is currently being held up over funding and political disputes. Express your support for HR 3550, the House-passed version of the bill that contains the MRF's motorcycle safety initiatives.

2. HR 1749, the Health Care Parity for Legal Transportation and Recreational Activities Act, which will reverse the discrimination against motorcyclists contained in HIPAA. Visit http://thomas.loc.gov/ and type "H.R. 1749" in the "Bill Number" box and then click on "Search" to see if your U.S. Representative is a co-sponsor of this bill. If he/she is listed, be sure to thank him/her for supporting this important piece of legislation. If he/she is not listed, ask him/her to consider signing on as a co-sponsor.

3. H. Res. 614, a bill introduced by Representative Marilyn Musgrave (R-CO) supporting the goals of the national motorcycle safety and awareness month bill sponsored by Senator Ben "Nighthorse" Campbell (R-CO) and passed by the Senate on April 28, 2004. Be sure to thank your Senators for passing Senator Campbell's bill unanimously. Ask your U.S. Representative to co-sponsor H. Res. 614. To view the text of H. Res. 614, go to http://thomas.loc.gov/ and type "H. Res. 614" in the "Bill Number" box and then click on "Search."

If you are able to attend a town hall meeting, be sure to follow up with a letter to your Congressman expressing your appreciation for holding the meeting. Include your questions in the letter, even if you didn't get a chance to ask them in the meeting. This letter will make certain that your legislators will take you and your views seriously.


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Don't forget to register for the MRF's BEAST of the East, BEST of the West and 20th Annual Meeting of the Minds conferences! Visit our website at www.mrf.org/events.php for further details and registration information.

Sign up today for the MRF's new roadside assistance program and stored value VISA card by visiting www.mrf.org/join.php! Both programs are available to MRF members and non-MRF members!

For an attached file of this news release, reply to MRF-Releases@mrf.org and request by file name:

04NR34.txt (text file)
04NR34.rtf (rich text format)
04NR34.doc (msword)

(c)All Information contained in this release is copyrighted. Reproduction permitted with attribution. The Motorcycle Riders Foundation, incorporated in 1987, is a membership-based, national motorcyclists' rights organization headquartered in Washington, DC. The first motorcyclists' rights organization to establish a full-time presence in Washington, DC, the Motorcycle Riders Foundation is the only Washington voice devoted exclusively to the street rider. The MRF established MRFPAC in the early 1990s to advocate the election of candidates who would champion the cause of rider safety and rider freedom.

The MRF proudly claims state motorcyclists' rights organizations and the very founders of the American riders' rights movement among its leading members. The MRF is involved in federal and state legislation and regulations, motorcycling safety education, training, and public awareness. The MRF provides members and state motorcyclists' rights organizations with direction and information, and sponsors annual regional and national educational seminars for motorcyclists' rights activists, as well as publishing a bi-monthly newsletter, THE MRF REPORTS.

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