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 InhofeTop GOP senators tell Trump to ditch Paris climate deal GOP frustrated by slow pace of Trump staffing GOP skeptical of Trump plan for paid parental leave MORE (R-Okla.) and Barbara BoxerBarbara BoxerTime is now to address infrastructure needs Tom Steyer testing waters for Calif. gubernatorial bid Another day, another dollar for retirement advice rip-offs 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 GravesSam GravesTrump, Congress head for fight over tolls GOP chair: Details on Trump infrastructure plan expected in June GOP flashes stop sign at Trump on gas tax MORE (R-Mo.); Candice Miller (R-Mich.); Rick CrawfordRick CrawfordThe Hill's Whip List: 19 GOP no votes on new ObamaCare replacement bill GOP rep: Clash between Nunes and Schiff a 'little difference of opinion' The Hill's Whip List: 36 GOP no votes on ObamaCare repeal plan MORE (R-Ark.); Lou BarlettaLou BarlettaDems plot recess offensive on ObamaCare GOP flashes stop sign at Trump on gas tax Republicans rush to help shape Trump’s infrastructure plan MORE (R-Pa.); Blake FarentholdBlake FarentholdLawmakers move to boost transparency of government’s cyber vulnerability disclosure Uber tracking controversy catches Congress's eye Privacy and security: Protecting your data and digital engagement at the border MORE (R-Texas); Bob Gibbs (R-Ohio); Jeff Denham (R-Calif.); Reid RibbleReid 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 WoodallRob WoodallGOP flashes stop sign at Trump on gas tax Dem seeks to delay tax reform until after review of Trump's returns The Hill's Whip List: 36 GOP no votes on ObamaCare repeal plan 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 BrownGenuine veteran charities face a challenge beating the fakes Former Florida rep found guilty of tax evasion, fraud Corruption trial could roil NJ Senate race MORE (D-Fla.); Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas); Elijah Cummings (D-Md.); Rick LarsenRick LarsenDemocrats come out on top during congressional charity soccer game Social media reacts to Comey's firing Dems wants to see results of United Airlines investigation 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.