GOP highway bill clears House panel after marathon markup

The $260 billion transportation bill being pushed by Republicans as a “jobs bill” was approved by a key House committee in the wee hours of Friday morning after nearly 16 hours of debate.

The measure, dubbed the American Energy and Infrastructure Act (H.R. 7), provides funding for road and transit projects by tying infrastructure spending to expanded oil drilling.

Democrats, who oppose such a trade-off, peppered the transportation bill with amendments during a hearing that began at 9 a.m. Thursday and ended at almost 3 a.m. Friday. The bill was approved on a 29-24 vote, with one Republican, Wisconsin Rep. Tom Petri, voting no.

The House Ways and Means Committee is scheduled to mark up the financing portions of the transportation bill Friday morning.