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October 16, 2017 4:45 PM, EDT

Capitol Agenda for the Week of Oct. 16: American Delight

Rep. Pete Roskam Rep. Pete Roskam via YouTube

“Americans are delightful people,” Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.), a key player on tax reform, told an audience in Washington recently.

“One of the reasons we’re delightful and we’re charming is that when people have been successful around us, we tend to say, ‘how nice for you.’ ” he continued. “And the reason we tend to say ‘how nice for you’ is we think that could be me.”

Roskam was presenting an emotions-centric economic theory to justify his party’s upcoming tax legislation, which could be voted on in a few months. But aside from tax policy, Roskam should’ve mentioned people’s delightfulness is not limited to tax reform. Augmenting funding for infrastructure, and emergency relief aid also are policies most delightful Americans support. Various polls show that a majority of constituents would be willing to pay more at the pump if it would lead to better roadways and less congestion. Congress disagrees.

And, when it comes to disaster relief, a new Quinnipiac University poll found 55% of voters believe President Donald Trump and his administration “have not done enough” to help Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. Thirty-six percent do. Hispanic voters are tougher on Trump, with 76% saying his administration “has not done enough.”

The inability to distribute food, commodities and supplies from the ports to retail outlets is the logistics nightmare governments hope to avoid after natural disasters. In the case of Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory home to 3.5 million Americans, poor access to supplies is contributing to the death toll.

Shortly after the House advanced a $36.5 billion emergency funding bill last week that would provide aid for areas affected by hurricanes and wildfires, Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) led a trip to Puerto Rico with top Democrats and members of his leadership. Not surprisingly, infrastructure topped the priorities since roadways remain blocked, and residents are expected to be without power for six months.

After explaining the delegation had examined the island’s rural region, Ryan noted, “We also listened to mayors who represent a lot of these towns that still have bridges out, in their one-road towns that can’t get people to. So at this stage, we’re in the humanitarian crisis moment.” The Speaker was standing next to the island’s governor, Ricardo Rossello (R), during a press conference Oct. 13. While agencies continue to attempt to smooth out freight connectivity in the capital city of San Juan, the Senate is likely to vote on the disaster relief bill this week. And, to Puerto Rican Americans, that would be delightful.

THE WEEK AHEAD (all times EDT):

Oct. 18, 10 a.m.: The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee considers the nomination of Paul Trombino to be administrator of the Federal Highway Administration.

Oct. 19, 11 a.m.: The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration hosts a webinar on hours-of-service policy.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

HEALTH CARE: President Trump signed an executive order Oct. 12 at an event attended by trucking industry executives that will allow small-business owners more health care options by enabling them to purchase insurance that does not fall under the aegis of the Affordable Care Act.

XPO: Greenwich, Conn.-based transportation and delivery services company XPO Logistics was the top performing U.S. company on Forbes’ list of Growth Champions, released Oct. 10.

DEFAZIO: Inaction so far this year on a long-term infrastructure funding bill in the U.S. House prompted a top Democrat to strongly voice his frustration toward Republicans during a high-profile hearing Oct. 11 that looked at ways to fund the nation’s transportation network. 

BUZZ:

Two key transportation policymakers will attend the upcoming Management Conference & Exhibition Oct. 21-24, hosted by American Trucking Associations.

FAVORITE QUOTE:

I don’t think there’s a single American who thinks the tax code is fair or simple, or helps to promote job creation. And that should be our goals.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), on ABC News’ “This Week” on Oct. 15.

FAVORITE VIDEO:

When art imitates life.

FAVORITE TWEET:

Infrastructure stakeholders during a House transportation hearing Oct. 11 kept it pretty inconsistent about the place where they keep tools.

Thank you for reading Capitol Agenda. We publish Tuesdays when Congress is in session. E-mail emulero@ttnews.com with tips. Follow @eugenemulero and @transporttopics on Twitter.