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House Applies Highway Patch; Senate Expected to Rubberstamp

November 17, 2015, by David Cullen - Also by this author

Rep. Bill Shuster, Chairman of the House T&I Committee
Rep. Bill Shuster, Chairman of the House T&I Committee

A bipartisan bill to extend the authorization for federal highway and transit programs through Dec. 4 was passed by the House on the evening of Nov. 16, the same day it was introduced as the 36th such road-funding stopgap since 2009.

The Senate is expected to take up companion legislation before the week ends.

The House measure would extend federal transportation spending, set to expire on Nov. 20, for two weeks. It was put forward by House GOP leaders to provide more time for Congress to complete the conferencing process that will forge a compromise from the long-term highway bills that have separately been passed by the House and Senate.

The Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2015, Part II (H.R. 3996) was introduced by Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA), T&I Ranking Member Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) and Ways & Means Ranking Member Sander Levin (D-MI).

“The House and Senate are making good progress in resolving differences between their respective multi-year surface transportation reauthorization proposals,” Rep. Shuster said in a statement. “The conference committee needs the time necessary to meet in public, complete negotiations, and produce a final measure that helps improve America’s infrastructure.”

Shuster called the proposed measure a “clean extension” and stated that it “provides time for that process to occur and for the House and Senate to vote on the final legislation, without shutting down transportation programs and projects in the meantime.”

In other Capitol Hill news, per a Politico.com report, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has signaled the upper chamber may soon begin debate on the Fiscal Year 2016 T-HUD spending bill, which funds both the Department of Transportation and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

On Nov.16, McConnell moved to limit debate on a motion to proceed to the bill and the Senate is slated to vote Nov. 18 on that procedural question. 

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