Senate sends interim funding for highways to Biden’s office
The Senate passed a bill to extend funding for the Highway Trust Fund on Saturday after House Democrats failed to meet to pass a sweeping $ 1.2 trillion infrastructure bill due to partisan bickering.
About 3,700 Transportation Department employees are expected to be placed on temporary leave shortly after President Biden signed the interim measure.
The 30-day extension was passed by the lower house in a 365-51 vote on Friday, but was blocked by Republicans on Friday night.
Funding for the Highway Trust Fund had expired at midnight Thursday, as Congress had to act quickly to avoid long-term problems in funding highway and transit construction programs.
Congress is only allowed to extend transportation funding for a maximum of 30 days without spending additional funding for DOT.
The top House Democrats were seeking to pass the bipartisan plan passed by the Senate before the previous year’s road funding expired. But progressive lawmakers have vowed to keep the bill until a bigger social spending bill to address some of the Biden administration’s biggest priorities, including climate change and expanding net programs. social security.
The commotion over the passage of the bill prompted President Biden to visit Capitol Hill on Friday, which did not provide members with a timeline, saying he would rather see both pieces of legislation passed.
Moderates are furious with President Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) Who chose not to put the bipartisan bill on the floor after being promised it would be considered before the end of the month.
Representative Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), co-chair of the Problem Solvers Caucus, said Pelosi had “violated his firm and public commitment to members of Congress and the American people to hold a vote and pass the Single Decision.” century-old bipartisan infrastructure bill.
The failure to pass the bipartisan bill sparked a backlash from outside groups, who argued Congress had failed to act on an urgent issue.
“Yesterday’s inaction with regard to the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is not only disappointing: it cancels our highways, public transport and road safety programs and interrupts work on vital transportation infrastructure across the country, which is hurting our economy and the quality of life of our communities, ”said Jim Tymon, executive director of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation, in a communicated.
“We are facing very real repercussions. Thousands of federal USDOT employees are put on leave and $ 50 billion in federal surface transportation programs supported by the Highway Trust Fund are suspended. This is unacceptable.”
Pelosi (D-Calif.) Announced a new deadline for the House to act on the bipartisan measure as Democrats seek a way forward on both bills.
” It was time ! There is a deadline for authorization of surface transport of October 31, after the passage last night of a critical extension of 30 days, “she said Saturday in a letter” Dear colleague “. “We have to pass the BIF long before that – the sooner the better, to get the jobs there. “