House appoints negotiators for highway bill talks with Senate

House appoints negotiators for highway bill talks with Senate

Lawmakers in the House moved quickly to appoint conferees to a potential conference on highway funding with the Senate after passing a $325 billion transportation package on Thursday morning. 

Both chambers are hoping to meet ahead of a Nov. 20 deadline for renewing federal road funding that is currently set to expire on that date. 

Leaders in the House appointed 16 Republicans and 12 Democrats to sit in on the forthcoming negotiations with the Senate, including Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) and Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), who are the top ranking lawmakers on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. 

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“This is an outstanding, hard-working group of Members,” Shuster said in a statement.  “I am confident that we will be able to take the strong House bill approved today, resolve any differences we have with the Senate’s position, and produce a final measure that improves our nation’s infrastructure and reforms our transportation programs.”

The highway bill that was approved by the House on Thursday calls for spending $261 billion on highways and $55 billion on transit over six years. The legislation authorizes highway funding for six years, but only if Congress can come up with a way to pay for the final three years. The bill was approved in a 363-64 vote.

The Senate passed a similar piece of legislation that contained three years' worth of guaranteed highway funding in July, and lawmakers in the upper chamber have said they are eager to get to conference. 

"Today the House of Representatives gave strong bipartisan support for a long-term surface transportation bill, which enables us to move forward to conference so we can work out our differences and get this legislation to the President’s desk by Thanksgiving," said Sens. Jim InhofeJames (Jim) Mountain InhofeDems give muted praise to Pompeo-Kim meeting Overnight Energy: Former Pruitt aide alleges more wasteful spending, retaliation | Senate confirms EPA No. 2 | Zinke backs off big park fee increases Senate approves Trump’s pick for No. 2 at EPA MORE (R-Okla.) and Barbara BoxerBarbara Levy BoxerThe ‘bang for the buck’ theory fueling Trump’s infrastructure plan Kamala Harris endorses Gavin Newsom for California governor Dems face hard choice for State of the Union response MORE (D-Calif.), who are the top ranking Republican and Democrat, respectively, on the Senate's Environment and Public Works Committee. 

"Businesses, labor, states, and local communities are depending on us to pass a consensus-based, bipartisan bill which provides funding certainty that will enable them to modernize our nation’s highways, bridges, and transit systems," the Senate duo continued. "We are also pleased that this bill provides the opportunity for increased investment in our aging infrastructure.”

Other Republican highway bill conferees announced on Thursday by the House include Reps. John J. Duncan, Jr. (R-Tenn.); Sam GravesSamuel (Sam) Bruce GravesLawmakers left with more questions than answers on Trump infrastructure plan Five obstacles to Trump's infrastructure ambitions White House still eyeing gas tax hike to pay for infrastructure plan MORE (R-Mo.); Candice Miller (R-Mich.); Rick CrawfordRichard (Rick) CrawfordWhy DOJ must block the Cigna-Express Scripts merger Elvis impersonator named Elvis Presley running for Congress Overnight Tech: Senate Dems want FCC chief recused from Sinclair merger | Tech rallies on Capitol Hill for DACA | Facebook beefs up lobbying ranks MORE (R-Ark.); Lou BarlettaLouis (Lou) James BarlettaGOP Senate hopefuls race to catch up with Dems The 10 Senate seats most likely to flip in 2018 Lawmakers push prevention measures ahead of new wildfire season MORE (R-Pa.); Blake FarentholdRandolph (Blake) Blake FarentholdFarenthold resigned ahead of ethics ruling against him House Ethics calls on Farenthold to pay back K taxpayer-funded harassment settlement Loss of Ryan hits hard for House Republicans MORE (R-Texas); Bob Gibbs (R-Ohio); Jeff Denham (R-Calif.); Reid RibbleReid James RibbleWith Trump, conservatives hope for ally in 'War on Christmas' GOP rushes to embrace Trump House stays Republican as GOP limits losses MORE (R-Wis.); Scott Perry (R-Pa.); Rob WoodallWilliam (Rob) Robert WoodallMcConnell, Schumer tap colleagues to explore budget reform Ryan, Pelosi name members to new budget and pension committees House GOP pushes hard-line immigration plan as Senate deals fail MORE (R-Ga.); John Katko (R-N.Y.); Brian Babin (R-Texas); Cresent Hardy (R-Nev.) and Garret Graves (R-La.). 

Additional Democratic House highway bill conferees include Reps. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.); Corrine BrownCorrine BrownFormer Florida rep sentenced to five years in prison for fraud, tax evasion Genuine veteran charities face a challenge beating the fakes Former Florida rep found guilty of tax evasion, fraud MORE (D-Fla.); Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas); Elijah Cummings (D-Md.); Rick LarsenRichard (Rick) Ray LarsenDems push Chao on aviation oversight after death on Southwest flight Dem calls for aviation safety hearing after death on Southwest flight Five things lawmakers want attached to the trillion funding bill MORE (D-Wash.); Michael Capuano (D-Mass.); Grace Napolitano (D-Calif.); Daniel Lipinski (D-Ill.); Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.); Albio Sires (D-N.J.) and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.).  

-Updated with new information at 2:04 p.m.