President Biden delivers remarks on solutions to transportation supply chain bottlenecks from the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, October 13, 2021.
UPI Photo

President Biden signed a short-term extension for highway funding on Sunday after House leadership last week punted the vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill, which would have renewed the highway programs for five years.

The Department of Transportation’s surface transportation programs will now be funded through Dec. 3. The House passed the extension on Thursday in a bipartisan 358 to 59 vote, and the Senate approved the measure by unanimous consent.

The extension of the highway funding will now protect the nearly 4,000 Transportation Department workers who were at risk of being furloughed if the funds were to expire.

It also prevented delays on road and transit projects, which state and local transportation officials had warned of last month if funding were to have expired.

Democratic lawmakers sought to pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill on Thursday, before President Biden left for Europe to attend the G20 summit and COP26, but those efforts were blocked by progressives who refused to hold a vote on the legislation unless it was accompanied by the larger reconciliation package, which the White House had just released the framework for.

Lawmakers are now aiming to pass both pieces of legislation as early as Tuesday, but ongoing negotiations and internal disagreements could push that date back again.

With the highway funding extension, Dec. 3 is gearing up to be a significant day in Washington, which is also when funding for the rest of the federal government and a debt limit extension are set to expire.

House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) said Dec. 3 will be “a momentous day around here.”

Tags Joe Biden Peter DeFazio

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