Highways, Bridges and Roads

House committee to consider GOP link between next highway bill extension, Keystone pipeline

{mosads}The new highway extension bill would take effect July 1 and extend transportation funding through June 30.

GOP aides have said the measure is intended to be the legislative language House Republicans take into a potential conference with the Senate about the highway bill. Prior to the two-week recess lawmakers returned from this week, the Senate had approved a multi-year highway bill that would have spent $109 billion on transportation funding.

The Senate sought to pressure the House into accepting its version of the bill, but the House decided instead to pass the short-term extension. The measure became law when it was accepted by the Senate and signed by President Obama to avoid a transportation funding interruption.

Democrats in the House have renewed their attempt to prod House Republicans to accept the two-year Senate transportation bill, asking the Rules Committee to allow the measure to be added as an amendment to the new, temporary House extension.

“With more than 2.5 million construction and manufacturing workers still out of work, it is far past the time to stop the political games and brinksmanship which have forced states to delay bid lettings and projects,” Reps. Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.), Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), Corrine Brown (D-Fla.) and Timothy Bishop (D-N.Y.) wrote Tuesday in a letter to House Rules Committee Chairman David Drier (R-Calif.).

“Our amendment provides Congress an opportunity to end these pointless games and to put in place legislation that will provide states with the certainty they need to move forward with critical highway and transit projects,” the Democrats’ letter continued. “We urge you to allow the House of Representatives to vote its will: allow an up-or-down vote on this amendment.”

Majority Republicans in the House did not allow amendments on the last highway bill extension, approving the measure under a closed rule. Because linking the next extension to the Keystone pipeline is intended to get Republicans to a conference with the Senate, the GOP is likely to approve another closed rule Tuesday.

A floor vote on the highway extension bill could come as early as Wednesday.

The text of the bill, which has been dubbed the “Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2012, Part II,” can be read here.

Tags Corrine Brown Nick Rahall
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