Mr. BEGICH. The Senator and I have the same situation he has described: Yes, we are getting those calls and they are not just--people say this is a union thing. No, it is union, nonunion, chamber, environmentalists, neighborhoods, community councils. It is everybody you can imagine because these are real jobs, about real people, about real communities.
Over there I think they think it is some theory that if they delay it, nothing will happen. They are wrong because the Senator and I have lived on that other side and had to live with the consequences of inaction. This is one of those bills where there is bipartisan support, all the groups out there from all walks of life support it, and everyday people understand it.
When I was back in Anchorage getting some gas at the gas station, someone came up and they asked me, because why? We are about to start our season in the bidding process because you have to take 30, 60, 90 days to get the bids out and then you actually have to construct. I think sometimes in the House they think it is some fantasy land that whatever they do has no effect. This does. I think the Senator said it very clearly, and I appreciate being allowed to ask a few questions and comment here.
But it seems the most ridiculous thing to have Alaskans telling me every day to work together, create bipartisan legislation, whatever it might be. Here is one we have done successfully and now we are ready. But over there they are playing politics. They have now tried twice to do something this week and they still cannot get it moving.
I would encourage those on the other side to move forward on the bipartisan bill that the Senate has passed when I know they were banking we would not pass it. We did it; we did our work. The American people are waiting for these jobs, the contractor community is ready, and the communities are ready. It is time to move forward.
I thank the Senator and the Presiding Officer for allowing me to ask a few questions and give a little commentary.