An update on the US surface transportation bill
20 June 2012 0 comments
The House and Senate staff have been making offers and counteroffers on several policy provisions recently, but at this point, completing a comprehensive bill by 30 June - when the 9th extension expires - is logistically almost impossible. So, the real question is how long the next extension will be - a few weeks in order to wrap up conference deliberations on a multi-year bill, or longer, possibly as long as six months, as House Speaker John Boehner has suggested.
Senators Boxer (D-CA), Inhofe (R-OK) and Reid (D-NV) appear to be sticking together in support of passing a multi-year bill – particularly since what may pass is likely to look very much like the original Senate-passed bill, and therefore, they will probably support the shortest extension possible. In the House, Speaker Boehner mentioned a six-month extension, but after taking heat from the industry, he said a six-month extension was only one option.
The industry groups remain optimistic, at least publically, and continue their DC and grassroots efforts to push for a long-term bill. The Transportation Constructors Coalition (TCC) is running radio ads in some key Republican conferees’ districts urging them to pass a bill immediately. There are still no offers from conferees on the controversial non-transportation issues, such as Keystone and coal ash.
Both the House and Senate are back in session this week and next week before the week-long 4 July recess. Congressional leaders will need to decide on the length and details of the 10th short-term extension in the next few days. At this point it is expected that the bill will be a “clean” extension of current law, meaning it will not include any extraneous policy provisions.
What do you think?
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