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117th Congress: Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.)

Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) joins Washington Post Live on Wednesday, August 18 (Video: The Washington Post)

Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) sits down with Washington Post Congressional correspondent and Power Up anchor Jacqueline Alemany to discuss mounting concerns in Congress over the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan. The chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure committee will also discuss the and the Biden administration’s approach to those negotiations.

Click here for transcript

Highlights

Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) says the withdrawal from Afghanistan was negotiated by former president Donald Trump and handed to President Biden, but he says it’s the right decision to get out because “we stayed way too long.” He added the fall of the country to the Taliban is a tragedy, “but inevitable.” (Video: Washington Post Live)
Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) says the United States has a moral obligation to help Afghan civilians who helped with our operations get out of the country. “Yes, and our allies. I think the Brits have said they will take 20,000… we have an obligation to these people.” (Video: Washington Post Live)
Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) says he takes issue with how high speed rail and transit were handled in the current bipartisan infrastructure deal. “High speed rail got short shrift and the transit section…transit came up very short, so I want to backfill there, improve there. Those are things that will help with carbon reduction and congestion mitigation.” (Video: Washington Post Live)
Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) says the federal government needs to do more to help states and other localities improve their transportation systems. “We can do better. We should do better. The federal gov has been absent as a partner for decades…Highways don’t end at state borders, so the federal government has to get back into partnership with the states, with the localities to get this done in a way that’s meaningful for the United States.” (Video: Washington Post Live)

Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.)

Provided by Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.)

Congressman Peter A. DeFazio, who represents Oregon’s 4th Congressional District, has spent his time in Congress working for Oregonians. As the dean of the Oregon House delegation, he has developed a reputation as an independent, passionate, and effective lawmaker.

In December of 2019, DeFazio was re-elected by his colleagues to be Chair of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure for the 117th Congress. The Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, the largest committee in Congress by membership, has broad jurisdiction over the U.S. Department of Transportation (including our nation's highways, public transit, railroads, airports, pipelines, and seaports), the U.S. Coast Guard, Amtrak, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the General Services Administration, the Army Corps of Engineers, the Economic Development Administration, and other agencies.

Chair DeFazio has been an active member of the committee since he was first elected in 1986, and he is also a founding member of the House Progressive Caucus. During his time on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, he has served as Chair or Ranking Member of four of the six subcommittees: Aviation, Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation, Highways and Transit, and Water Resources and Environment. DeFazio has taken a lead role on several multibillion-dollar surface transportation and FAA reauthorization bills, and worked to strengthen safety standards, worker protections, and Buy America requirements. DeFazio has a well-deserved reputation as a leader on transportation issues, working to boost investment in a robust, multimodal transportation system to ensure the United States remains globally competitive. In 2021, DeFazio was successful in passing H.R. 3684, the INVEST in America Act, in the House. This transformational surface transportation and water infrastructure legislation would create good-paying jobs, tackle the climate crisis, and boost American manufacturing and ingenuity by reimaging and rebuilding our roads, bridges, transit, rail, drinking water, and wastewater systems.

In 2020, DeFazio also led the successful passage of three major pieces of bipartisan legislation that were signed into law: the Water Resources Development Act of 2020; the Elijah E. Cummings Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2020; and the Aircraft Certification, Safety, and Accountability Act, which reforms and strengthens the FAA’s aircraft certification process in the wake of two deadly Boeing 737 MAX crashes and reflects the findings from the committee’s 18-month investigation into the design, development, and certification of the MAX.

DeFazio has voted against and refused to accept every congressional pay raise while the government is deficit spending. Instead, he has used his pay raises to fund scholarships at five southwestern Oregon community colleges. As of the end of 2020, DeFazio contributed $445,744 of after-tax salary toward over 270 scholarships and debt reduction. He counts these scholarships among his proudest accomplishments.

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