04-26-2004

04NR20 - MRF Learns of Another Proposed TEA Extension

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Jeff Hennie, MRF Vice President - Government Relations
mrfwash@mrf.org (e-mail)

April 26, 2004

#04NR20 - MRF Learns of Another Proposed TEA Extension

The deadline for the current extension of the reauthorization of the Transportation Equity Act (TEA) ends on April 30. As the Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) has previously reported to you, both bodies of the U.S. Congress have passed their own new transportation bills, and now they need to conference the two bills to resolve all differences. Under a veto threat from the White House, this is no easy task. The MRF has learned that closed-door staff level talks have begun; however, under direct order from Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN), there are to be no substantive policy talks. The House is expected to pass a two-month extension on Wednesday or Thursday of this week, while the Senate will probably take up a similar bill on Thursday.

Several issues remain that are holding up the bill, but the most outstanding problems relate to its overall price tag. The President simply does not want to see a bill as expensive as the ones passed by both bodies come across his desk. Bush has yet to veto any legislation in his term, and there is talk that he is itching to use his veto stamp on this transportation bill. Congress has signaled that it will overturn a veto if need be. When it comes to things that members need for their own political survival during this election year, they are prepared to part company with the White House. While the White House doesn't like it, they understand it. But for the Bush administration, the highway bill also represents a key election-year message for the President, who is facing record deficits. Bush has said he'll hold the line on spending by vetoing any highway bill larger than $256 billion. This could signal a deal reached by Congressional leadership and the White House . . . the President can call himself a fiscal conservative by vetoing the pricey legislation, and Congress can bring home dollars and jobs by overturning and passing as big and expensive a bill as they'd like.

Congress will have a lot of work to do during this proposed two-month extension. They must name conferees to compromise the House and Senate versions, work out the fundamental differences Republican and Democrats have with the bill, have one bill passed by both chambers, and then send that compromise bill to the White House for approval. And, of course, they will have to smooth out all of the technical and political problems that seem to surface weekly with the funding formulas of the bill. The last highway bill passed in 1998 took ten weeks to conference, and the political and budgetary climate was much more favorable at that time. It is unlikely that this bill will be completed by the end of another two-month extension, which would be the third extension to date. But talk of a two-month extension signals that Congress does want to keep the pressure on and does not want to just play games until after the election in November.

Once members of the Congressional conference committee are named, the MRF can begin to contact those members to keep our motorcycle safety language in the final version of the bill. For now it's a watching and waiting game. As always, the MRF will keep you posted.

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04NR20.txt (text file)
04NR20.rtf (rich text format)
04NR20.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.
- MRF: My Ride is Freedom -

The first motorcyclists' rights organization to establish a full-time legislative advocacy presence in Washington. The Motorcycle Riders Foundation is the only Washington voice devoted exclusively to the street rider. MRF established MRFPAC in the early 1990s to advocate the election of candidates who would champion the cause of rider safety and rider freedom. MRF proudly claims state motorcyclists' rights organizations and the very founders of the American rider rights movement among its leading members. Motorcyclists worldwide can thumb-start their search for rider rights and safety on the web at www.mrf.org.

All information contained in this release is copyrighted. Reproduction permitted with attribution. The Motorcycle Riders Foundation, incorporated in 1987, is an independent, membership-based national motorcyclists' rights organization headquartered in Washington D.C. which operates in co-partnership with State Motorcyclists' Rights Organizations nationwide. The MRF is involved in federal and state legislation and regulation, motorcycling safety education, training, licensing and public awareness. The MRF provides individual and SMRO member-volunteers with guidance, support and information to protect motorcyclists' rights and advance motorcycling and its associated lifestyle. The MRF sponsors annual regional and national educational seminars for motorcyclists' rights activists and publishes a bi-monthly newsletter, THE MRF REPORTS.

Voice: 202-546-0983, Fax: 202-546-0986, E-Mail: wyld@mrf.org, website: http://www.mrf.org



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