Senate ready to work on final leg of highway bill

News ARTBA May 20, 2004
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Last night Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn

Last night Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) and Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle (S.D.) jointly announced in a dialogue on the Senate floor that they have reached an understanding that will allow the Senate to appoint negotiators on the highway/transit bill.

A 21-member Senate conference team will be led by Senate Environment & Public Works Committee Chairman Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.). It will include 11 Republicans and 10 Democrats. The bipartisan team will likely be named later by their respective party leadership.

In making the announcement, Frist said that Inhofe "has agreed he will not pursue a conclusion to the conference, nor sign any conference report that would alter the text of (the Senate version of the reauthorization bill) in a way that undermines the bipartisan working relationship that has exists in (developing the bill) in the Senate."

Daschle responded, "If the process should break down due to disagreements over either transportation policy or extraneous provisions, then we (Democrats) understand that he (Frist) and I will not bring such a conference report to the floor (for a final vote)."

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