Biden signs 30-day extension of highway funding into law

Biden signs 30-day extension of highway funding into law
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President BidenJoe BidenSouth Africa health minister calls travel bans over new COVID variant 'unjustified' Biden attends tree lighting ceremony after day out in Nantucket Senior US diplomat visiting Southeast Asia to 'reaffirm' relations MORE signed a 30-day extension of highway funding into law on Saturday following its passage earlier in the day by the Senate, according to a statement from the White House.

The Senate reconvened for a brief session to pass the Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2021 after Republicans did not allow the legislation to clear quickly Friday following passage in the House in a 361-51 vote.

The bill was sent to Biden’s desk after Congress failed to reauthorize funding for highway and transit construction programs by its end-of-September deadline. 

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The Department of Transportation had to furlough around 3,700 workers on Friday since the funding was not passed. The furloughs put pressure on both chambers of Congress to act quickly and pass the short-term authorization before next week. 

Congress failed to reauthorize long-term highway funding after two pieces of legislation including the money had not been taken up. 

The funding had been incorporated in a $1.2 trillion, bipartisan infrastructure package passed by the Senate. The bill was supposed to be put up for a vote in the House this week, but was delayed after progressive Democrats threatened to tank the bill without a sweeping social spending bill. 

Biden made his way to Capitol Hill amid infighting between moderates, who would like to see the bipartisan bill passed, and progressives that want to see a $3.5 trillion "human infrastructure" bill realized. Biden later told moderates that the vote on the $1.2 trillion package would not occur Friday.  

On Saturday, House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiFive reasons for Biden, GOP to be thankful this season Bipartisan success in the Senate signals room for more compromise The GOP's post-1/6 playbook is clear — and it's dangerous MORE (D-Calif.) set a new, end-of-October deadline for the bipartisan package to pass. 

“There is an October 31st Surface Transportation Authorization deadline, after last night’s passage of a critical 30-day extension. We must pass BIF well before then – the sooner the better, to get the jobs out there,” Pelosi said in a letter on Saturday.