House and Senate Pass 90-day Extension of SAFETEA-LU

Image - Mike Licht NotionsCapitol.com

Also see our more recent story: “Will the 90-day Extension of SAFETEA-LU Result in a Multi-year Bill?”

With just two days to spare before SAFETEA-LU expires, the House passed a 90-day extension of the legislation by a 266-158 vote.

The Senate passed the bill shortly thereafter by voice vote. The White House had already signaled it would accept and sign the extension.

This ninth extension of T-LU will expire on June 30.

The House has roughly a month of scheduled legislative days to pass its multi-year bill, with most of those days in May and June. That doesn’t leave a lot of time for Senate-House negotiations.

In the House, Democratic leadership strongly urged its members to oppose the bill and instead support forcing a vote on the Senate bill.  They pointed out that the uncertainty of an extension will likely have a negative impact on the summer construction season.  In spite of that, 37 Democratic members voted for the 90-day extension. Democrats don’t have the votes to force a vote on the Senate bill, though they tried every legislative maneuver available to them.

Republican leadership urged support of the bill, arguing it provides continuity.  In spite of that, 10 Republicans voted against the extension.  However that could signal their support for one of several different options: the Senate bill, a shorter extension, the House five-year bill – or just plain opposition to federal involvement in transportation. Many Republicans want devolution.  Republicans also noted they had made more progress on a multi-year bill than had the Democrat-controlled House.

Congress is scheduled to begin a two-week legislative recess on Saturday, for an in-state/district work period.

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