Washington, D.C. - Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke on the House floor this afternoon to express her support of H. Res. 936, honoring the 200th anniversary of the Gallatin Report on Roads and Canals and recognizing the vast contributions that national planning efforts have provided to the United States. Below are the Speaker's remarks:
'Two hundred years ago, around the time of the Lewis and Clark expeditions and the Louisiana Purchase, a great president realized that for commerce to flow in America, for people to move, and for our country to flourish, we needed to build the infrastructure of our country.
'Mr. DeFazio described the immensity of that project, designed by Albert Gallatin, Secretary of the Treasury under President Thomas Jefferson. Secretary Gallatin said at the time that his vision of roads and canals to unite our young nation could not be 'left to individual exertion.' Contrary to the popular thinking of the time,
'From the beginning of our country, our founders and the leaders of our country were entrepreneurs. They were risk takers. They believed in public-private partnerships, and that's what this was.
'At the beginning of the 19th century, it's important to note there were barely 1,000 miles of canals in
'It is in the tradition of Albert Gallatin that 100 years later, in 1908, President Theodore Roosevelt launched a similar commitment by convening a White House Conference on Conservation to preserve
'In 2008, 200 years after Thomas Jefferson and Secretary Gallatin, 100 years after Theodore Roosevelt, in keeping with the traditions of visionary leaders like them, we are prepared to invest in
'Just as they did 200 years ago, these infrastructure investments offer our nation job-creating opportunities to reinvigorate the American economy. Anything we're talking about in terms of infrastructure means good paying jobs right here at home in
'Today, because of the leadership of Mr. Oberstar, the distinguished chair of the committee, Mr. DeFazio, who opened the debate, Mr. Duncan, thank you as well, and the leadership of Congressman Earl Blumenauer, Congress has the opportunity to honor the genius of the Gallatin plan in, as the resolution says, 'establishing a more perfect union.'
'Mr. Speaker, I urge recognition of Secretary Albert Gallatin, who with his plan encouraged the prosperity and national unity of