House votes to instruct highway conferees to finish by Friday

Rep. Tim Walz (D-Minn.) introduced the motion to instruct this week, and urged support as a way to recognize that Congress as a whole needs to do its job better. The resolution was debated Tuesday.

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Republicans have hinted for weeks that the conferees might not make their June 30 deadline, when current authorization for federal highway spending expires. In that case, Congress will likely agree to another short-term extension to allow the talks to continue.

Earlier today, Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) said she would meet with House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John Mica (R-Fla.) to see if there is any way to reach an agreement.

House Republicans have indicated that the Senate's $109 billion price tag for highway spending over the next two years is too high, but have not revealed what headline number they might be able to accept.

After the vote, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.) said they would bring up additional motions to instruct. Hoyer's would call on the House to accept the Senate bill, and Black's would call on the House to reject Senate language establish grants to fight distracted driving.

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