Highway conferee says House Dems will support compromise


The Oregon lawmaker's comments came after Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) told The Hill on Tuesday that Democrats on the conference committee might not sign a report from the panel about the potential deal because they felt they had been shut out of the two-month long negotiation between the chambers of Congress.

DeFazio said the compromise between the House and Senate on the transportation measure would last 28 months at the Senate's level of funding.

The Senate's original proposal called for spending approximately $109 billion on transportation over a two-year period.

DeFazio said he was disappointed at the inclusion in the agreement of a provision that was not in the Senate's version of the transportation bill: allowing states to opt out of spending money on bike and pedestrian improvements.

But DeFazio said that was not a deal breaker for Democrats on the transportation conference committee.

"Some unenlightened states like Texas will (opt out), but states like mine will continue to invest," he said.

The transportation bill agreement will have to be approved by Wednesday night by a majority of the 47-member conference committee in order to be taken up by the full chambers of Congress ahead of a scheduled June 30 expiration of current road and transit funding.