LaHood on Advice to Next Secretary: Get Along with Congress

By Melanie Arter | March 11, 2013 | 4:56 PM EDT

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood (AP Photo/AnnAbor.Com, Melanie Maxwell)

( – Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said Monday his advice to his predecessor is to “get along with Congress.”

“Get along with Congress. I’m serious. When I look at my cabinet colleagues over the last four and a half years that have been successful, look at—Congress is very important,” LaHood said at the American Public Transportation Association’s annual legislative conference in Washington, D.C.

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“Every member of the House represents seven or eight hundred thousand people. And we just have really gone out of our way to make sure that those members of Congress that want to get stuff done we try to be helpful, because we know they represent the communities around the country, and they control the purse strings, and it’s a very, very important part of the job,” LaHood said.

LaHood announced in January he plans to step down as head of the Transportation Department.

President Barack Obama gave the Transportation Department “a long leash,” LaHood said, and when he was appointed Treasury Secretary, he knew there were two or three things the president wanted the department to do: raise CAFÉ standards, high-speed rail, and enact a passenger bill of rights, which does not allow for more than a three-hour delay on the tarmac.

LaHood said the department needs resources, so his advice would be to “get along with Congress.”

“We need more resources, and we need groups like you to do what I said, charge up there. And you’re the ones that put these people in office, and they listen to you,” LaHood added.