Reid signals Senate could move quickly on highway package

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) signaled Friday a Senate vote on the highway package could come very quickly.

While revenue measures must be first approved by the House, Reid said he was working to get unanimous consent from senators on a deal that could move the highway package through the Senate first.

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The Senate would deem the bill as approved by the House, and it would then be sent to President Obama’s desk after a House vote.

“The Republican leader and I have been in close contact in the past several days,” Reid said on the Senate floor Friday morning.

“We should be able to do it quickly. It all depends on the cooperation of senators. We actually know that the House is planning to vote around 12:30 today. They could do it more quickly. They could do it as late as 1 o'clock,” Reid said.

“We have the ability — now that the papers have been filed in the House, we could act before they do as we've done before,” Reid continued. “So we'll have to see how the morning moves on but we're working on a consent on votes in relation to the transportation conference report this morning.”

The package would include a two-year reauthorization of highway funding along with a five-year extension of federal flood insurance and a one-year extension of the 3.4 percent interest rate on student loans.

The student loan interest rate would double next month without the legislation, and highway funding is set to expire at the end of the month.

“As sure as we have something firmed up, we'll let everyone know,” Reid said.

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