Senate adjourns awaiting House vote on highway bill

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The chamber adjourned without voting on a highway bill that would most likely include legislation retaining the current interest rate on Stafford loans as well as a five-year flood insurance extension. The deadlines for extending the student loan rate and flood insurance are at the end of the month.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said the Senate would convene at 10 a.m. Friday and vote after expected House passage of the packaged bill.

Reid's announcement came after a day in which, even with the Supreme Court announced its decision to uphold the Obama administration's healthcare reform law, legislators repeatedly said that Congress could still pass the highway bill with the student loan interest rate extension and flood insurance wrapped in with it. But the Senate spent most of Thursday afternoon waiting on the House to file a committee report on the highway bill.

Reid came to the floor just after the Republican-controlled House filed the report.

"We likely can't do anything until the House votes tomorrow. But we're trying to work through that," Reid said. "I'm disappointed that we're not going to be able to do things tonight but we're not going to be able to do that."

Reid said he hoped when the Senate gaveled in on Friday it would pass the highway bill "very very quickly."  He also praised House Republicans for cooperating with the Senate and said that the only issues remaining on passing the highway bill were procedural.

The Senate could still vote on the highway bill before the House but only if the chamber can get a unanimous consent agreement on bringing the bill up for a vote, according to a Senate Democratic aide.

"If we can’t get one, the Senate will vote after the House. The conference report including all three provisions has been filed by the House," the aide said.

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