Obama, Biden urge Congress to pass transportation funding

Would you like fries with that stump speech?
By Gabrielle Levy   |   May 16, 2014 at 3:15 PM
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WASHINGTON, May 16 (UPI) -- President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden took four construction workers to lunch at a Washington, D.C., Shake Shack Friday as part of an effort to push Congress to renew transportation funding before it runs out this summer.

Calling it a "no-brainer," the president said passing transportation funding is "one of the things we can do right now to put more Americans back to work."

The four workers were among those who had worked on a $9.1 million reconstruction project in the northeast D.C. neighborhood NoMa, which will be completed this week, and used $6.9 million in federal aid, the White House said.

"If Congress does not act, then by the end of this summer, we could have hundreds of thousands of projects like this all across the country stop," he said. "And people whose livelihoods depend on these projects sent home. And businesses that need improved infrastructure suffering."

Obama had a similar message for a speech at the Tappan Zee Bridge outside New York City on Wednesday, as did Biden on Tuesday at the St. Louis Gateway Arch.

"When you ask Americans from all walks of life all across the country what's their number one priority, it's improving the economy and putting people back to work," Obama said. "And one of the best ways we can do it is to do something about the roads, the bridges, the ports, the airports, the sewer lines all across the country that need repair."

The president said he didn't just choose Shake Shack, a New York-based burger chain, for its "great burgers," but because it hit on another of his favorite messages.

Shake Shack "pays its employes over 10 bucks an hour, so we're very proud of them and the great work that they're doing," he said. "We've been talking a lot all across the country about the importance of raising the minimum wage."

The president order a burger and fries, and Biden enjoyed a cheeseburger, fries and a black-and-white milkshake.

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