The House passed a 30-day extension to fund the Highway Trust Fund after Democrats failed to strike a deal on a sweeping, bipartisan $1.2 trillion infrastructure deal on Friday.
Its passage comes shortly after the Highway Trust Fund’s funding lapsed at midnight on Thursday. Its fast-tracked passage was blocked in the upper chamber, which is expected to hold a Saturday session to pass the measure.
The lapse in funding led to the furlough of “approximately 3,700” Department of Transportation workers, the agency said in a statement on Friday.
Congress is only authorized to extend transportation funding for a maximum of 30 days without passing additional funding for the DOT.
The extension of funding is slated to provide lawmakers with additional time to negotiate the parameters surrounding a sweeping social spending bill after progressives blocked the infrastructure measure from coming to the floor, withholding their support until the larger package is passed.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) praised the stopgap’s passage, telling lawmakers that there are “more updates to come” on the two pieces of legislation aimed at tackling some of the Biden administration’s biggest priorities
“While great progress has been made in the negotiations to develop a House, Senate and White House agreement on the Build Back Better Act, more time is needed to complete the task. Our priority to create jobs in the health care, family and climate agendas is a shared value. Our Chairs are still working for clarity and consensus. Clearly, the Bipartisan Infrastructure bill will pass once we have agreement on the reconciliation bill,” she said in a “Dear Colleague” letter on Friday evening.
“Tonight, we will pass a critical 30-day extension of the surface transportation authorization. More updates to come.”
House Democratic leadership’s decision to pull the bipartisan bill sparked fury from moderates, who argued that the investment in the country’s physical infrastructure is a pressing matter.
“While we applaud the Speaker’s recent efforts to get BIF across the finish line, we are deeply disappointed BIF is not coming to the floor tonight and is further delayed. This will harm future negotiations and further complicate enactment of President Biden’s agenda. We upheld our end of this agreement by voting to advance reconciliation and expect Leadership to move forward with a vote on this historic bipartisan achievement as soon as possible,” Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-Fla.), co-chair of the Blue Dog Coalition, said in a statement.
“We view this as counterproductive to our caucus’s negotiations and ultimately harmful to our ability to find common ground. It also unfairly punishes millions of Americans who want clean water, broadband internet, repaired roads and bridges, and strong climate provisions as soon as possible.”