Congress Passes 90-Day Extension of Transportation Programs

Congress Passes 90-Day Extension of Transportation Programs

On Thursday, March 29th, the House passed a 90-day extension of transportation programs (H.R. 4281) by a vote of 266-158 just days before Transportation programs and the authority to collect the gas tax were set to expire. Although the Senate already passed a bipartisan 2-year transportation reauthorization (MAP-21) and many Senators were opposed to another short-term extension, the Senate did pass the 90-day extension by voice vote. The President signed the bill on March 30th. This the ninth extension of transportation programs since 2009.

The 90-day extension is the result of the failure of the House Republican leadership and the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee to develop a bill that the Republican Caucus would support. While the Senate managed to pass a bipartisan transportation reauthorization bill (S. 1813), the House reauthorization bill (H.R. 7) was never voted on due to lack of support. House Republican leadership rejected bringing the Senate Bill for a vote and instead sought to draft a new bill that the Republican Caucus would support. However, they were not able to reach consensus within the Republican Caucus before the March 30th deadline and settled on a short-term extension instead.

Congress will now have until June 30th to either pass a long-term authorization or another short-term extension. House Republican leadership has signaled that they will continue to work to pass a multi-year transportation bill before the end of the 90-day extension. However, it is almost certain that wide differences will remain between House and Senate versions of the bill complicating a long-term reauthorization.

House to introduce three-month highway bill extension

House to introduce three-month highway bill extension

By Keith Laing

The House of Representatives will vote on a three-month extension of highway funding that will extend transportation programs in the United States until June 30. 

The announcement comes after House leaders shunned the idea of holding a vote on a two-year, $109 billion plan that was approved in a bipartisan vote by the Senate last week. It represents a clear defeat for Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) goal of passing a multi-year bill early in this election year. 

But House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John Mica (R-Fla.) said a three-month extension would “ensure continuity of current programs while … House Republicans continue to work toward a responsible transportation bill that provides long-term certainty, reduces the size of government, eliminates earmarks, and is fully paid for.” 

Mica made clear the House has no plans to take up the Senate version. 

”We continue to believe that linking energy and infrastructure is the responsible thing to do in order to meet our long-term needs,” he said in a statement.