Why a 60-day Extension of SAFETEA-LU Is Problematic

The clock is ticking. . .again.

Thursday 10am (ET) update: The House is scheduled to vote on a 90-day extension today.  But it may also vote on a 60-day extension.

Update, Wednesday 3pm (ET): The House has postponed its scheduled Wednesday vote on a T-LU extension. It’s the third vote postponement this week and leaves the House with just two days to pass legislation to renew T-LU and federal transportation taxes and fees. 

A sixty-day extension of SAFETEA-LU sounds like enough time for Congress to negotiate and pass a multi-year bill, doesn’t it? Maybe not.

Looking at the Congressional calendar, a 60-day extension would provide 18 scheduled legislative days for the House to pass its bill. And we know how THAT process has gone so far. And leadership and members are anxious to move on to other issues, such as the 2013 budget.

Once the House passes its bill, the Senate and House must negotiate their differences – which are likely to be significant.  That is slightly complicated because near the end of a 60-day extension comes the Memorial Day legislative recess.  On the other hand, Congress has a history of passing bills when faced with a deadline.

Of course the schedule can be adjusted, but that would be difficult given the Easter-related holidays which many Members will want to observe.

Thanks to Scott Bogren at Community Transportation Association of America for pointing this out. You can follow him on twitter: @CTMag1 and visit CTAA at www.ctaa.org/

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