The House on Thursday opted for a short-term transportation bill instead of a longer-term bill, resolving an impasse that had threatened highway projects across the country.
Voting 266-158, the House extended federal funding to the Highway Trust Fund, which provides for surface transportation projects and is set to expire on Sunday.
A two-year bill was overwhelmingly approved by the Democratic-controlled Senate but had repeatedly stalled in the Republican-controlled House.
While the longer-term Senate bill would have given states $109 billion over two years, the House bill that passed Thursday provides funding for only 90 days, which enraged Democrats who were pushing for the longer-term bill.
Since the bills are different, the House bill went back to the Senate, where it was approved by voice vote.
If an extension had not been approved, the trust fund programs would have expired on Sunday and begun incurring losses of $110 million a day
Angry Democrats sent out sharply-worded press releases in response to the passage of the short-term extension.
"It seems like even on the best days around here, Congress takes one small step forward and three large steps backwards," said Rep. David Loebsack, D-Iowa.
He added, "Passing a bipartisan, long-term bill, as I have continued to call for, is the only way that will allow states and local governments to effectively plan projects that are critical to communities' economic development."
by RTT Staff Writer
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