House passes another extension; Oberstar frustrated with progress

News ARTBA April 29, 2004
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By a 410-0 count, the House of Representatives passed a two-month extension of the federal highway and transit programs that wi

By a 410-0 count, the House of Representatives passed a two-month extension of the federal highway and transit programs that will last through June 30. The current short-term extension expires April 30.


The measure now goes to the Senate for action, which may become complicated. Senate Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee Chairman Kit Bond (R-Mo.) will reportedly attempt to prevent the Senate from taking up the measure. Bond's move is a tactical effort to try to force Senate Democrats to abandon their strategy of blocking the Senate from beginning negotiations with the House on a six-year TEA-21 reauthorization bill. Senate Democrats have indicated they do not believe negotiations should begin until an agreement on the final measure's overall investment levels is reached.


House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Ranking Democrat James Oberstar (D-Minn.) released a statement criticizing the Bush administration for lack of progress on a multi-year bill. "For the first time in my nearly 30 years as a member of this committee and another 11 years as a member of the staff of the committee, ideology, not good public, bipartisan transportation policy is controlling the process," he said.


At least 18 Senate Republicans have sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) urging him not to back off the $318 billion in highway and transit investment levels contained in the Senate-passed TEA-21 reauthorization measure.


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