UPDATE: House and Senate pass 90 day exentension of transportation bill
by Crystal McMillan on Thursday, March 29, 2012
Voting along party lines, the Republican majority House of Representatives voted early Thursday to extend the transportation bill for 90 days. This is an attempt to extend the conversation on the shape of the next transportation bill. House Republicans had been initially shopping a 5 year bill (H.R. 7), that removed targeted funds for transit, as well as bike and pedestrian safety programs. The House bill also used increased leasing of off-shore drilling as a funding source for the bill. The leases would open up protected Alaskan wilderness areas, as well as increasing drilling off the Pacific and Atlantic coast.
Due to strong, vocal and widespread resistance to the bill, H.R. 7, Democrats and some Republicans had been pressuring the House to adopt a version of the Senate's bi-partisan two-year bill. The impasse had led to the real possibility that the transportation bill would expire before a compromise was reached.
Now the ball is in the Senate's court. If the Senate refuses to adopt the extension, the transportation bill will expire on March 31st.
UPDATE: at 2:50 PM EST, the Senate passed the 90 day extension by a voice vote.