Rep. Mica calls on Dems to support short-term highway bill

House Republicans pulled their bill on Monday and Tuesday, in the process turning their 90-day extension into a 60-day extension. While they left open the possibility of a Wednesday vote, that idea was scrapped. Republicans are now pushing for a Thursday vote on their original 60-day extension.

While they were pushing for a suspension vote earlier in the week, requriing a two-thirds majority vote that would need some Democrats for passage, Republicans are now looking to pass the 90-day extension under regular order. The House Rules Committee was expected to meet Wednesday afternoon to approve a rule for the bill, H.R. 4281, allowing floor consideration on Thursday.

House passage of the three-month extension will toss that bill to a Senate that has been calling on the House to take up the Senate-passed, two-year reauthorization. In doing so, they are likely banking on the pending expiration of federal highway programs to build pressure on the Senate to take the short-term bill. The programs expire Saturday, and Thursday is the last day the House plans to be in session before the Easter break.

On Tuesday, Committee Ranking Member Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.) said he and other Democrats reject the 60-day extension because it provides too much time for Republicans to delay a long-term agreement. He and others called on House Republicans to take up the Senate-passed bill, which would spend $109 billion over two years.

— This story was updated at 4:47 p.m.