What's more, House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John Mica (R-Fla.) said he would write a letter to House GOP leaders asking for an immediate conference with the Senate, which has passed a two-year bill with bipartisan support.
"Today we will go take this to conference," Mica said on the floor. And when asked by Democrats whether he would help with the letter asking for a conference, Mica said, "Not only will I sign the letter, I will draft the letter asking … going to conference and appointment of conferees."
"Taking the other side at their word, that they are serious about moving the process forward, and I'm beginning to think that may be a likely scenario, passage of this extension of current law through the end of the fiscal year will allow us to go to conference with the other body on their bipartisan multi-year bill which passed with the support of three-quarters of the Senate," he said.
Democrats had recoiled against the House GOP's original plan, which they said would gut spending on key highway funding priorities. But they welcomed the short-term extension for not including these cuts.
The bill does contain language that would require approval of the Keystone oil pipeline, although this is language that could fall out during the House-Senate conference.
Democrats also indicated they could support some of the three amendments up for a vote later Wednesday, before the extension is approved.
One of these, from Rep. Charles BoustanyCharles BoustanyLouisiana dishes last serving of political gumbo We can't let tax extenders obstruct comprehensive reform GOP seeks to make it 52 MORE (R-La.), would ensure that the harbor maintenance tax is used only for the Army Corps of engineers for dredging purposes.
Rahall said he could also support an amendment from Rep. David McKinleyDavid McKinley10 Senate seats that could flip in 2018 Ethics panel scolds GOP lawmaker over namesake firm Lawmakers press concerns over fuel efficiency rules MORE (R-W.Va.) that would ease Environmental Protection Agency regulations on coal-fired power plants.
The third, from Rep. Reid RibbleReid RibbleGOP rushes to embrace Trump House stays Republican as GOP limits losses Republican groups launch final ad blitz in key House battlegrounds MORE (R-Wis.), is meant to speed up environmental approval of highway projects.