House advances highway bill after deja-vu debate

The rule vote sets up an hour of debate on the bill and a vote, expected by 3 p.m. Thursday.


By going through regular order, Republicans can pass the bill with a simple majority vote, an easier lift than the two-thirds majority they needed earlier in the week when they tried a suspension vote on both a 60- and 90-day extension.

However, also on the schedule today is a vote on the 60-day suspension vote. If this vote takes place, it's unlikely to pass, unless Democrats, who oppose a long extension, decide they can accept this bill over the 90-day bill.

The two parties have fought all week about how to proceed with the highway bill, and kept up the fight in today's rule debate. Democrats say the bipartisan Senate bill, authorizing highway programs for two years, is a fair solution, and that it could easily pass the House, having passed the Senate 74-22.

But House Republicans have indicated they want more time to write a bill that can satisfy their entire caucus, which could mean smaller authorization levels and different funding mechanisms.

Tensions were high earlier in the week, when one House Democrat said Republican delays show they "hate America," while Republicans argued repeatedly that Democrats often passed short-term extensions when they ran the House and Senate.

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