House Votes to Extend MAP-21
UPDATE: The Senate voted on Friday to extend the transportation bill for another two months. President Obama is expected to sign the extension before the May 31 deadline, according to the Hill.
The U.S. House of Representatives passed a two month extension to the federal transportation bill, MAP-21, yesterday, with a vote of 387 to 35.
You can read more about the debate over federal transportation funding here. The most interesting part of yesterday’s debate was the number of members of Congress saying they’d had enough: This is the last time they will vote for an extension. Though key Democrats, Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) and Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Ranking Democrat on the Transportation Committee, left some wiggle room for their votes, this could be a threat enough members stand behind.
On Monday, Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) made clear that there would be another extension at the end of July, so this is a line in the sand that will have to be crossed in a couple months. The question is what will leadership have to give to get enough votes in July.
Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NY) laid out one solution: Pascrell and Rep. Jim Renacci (R-OH) introduced a bill that would create a Congressional Super Committee to find a long term funding solution. If the Super Committee failed to find a solution, or if Congress fails to pass the Committee’s solution by September 2016, then an increase in the gas tax will immediately go into effect. Read more about the possible solutions to the funding debate here.
Before we get to the July debate, though, the Senate has to pass the two-month extension, as well. This should happen without incident on Thursday — the last day of work before Congress goes on their Memorial Day Recess. This will give President Obama plenty of time to sign it before MAP-21 expires on the 31st.
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(Photo by Brian Palmer)