Enacting a new surface transportation bill did not make it onto the list of summer legislative priorities announced last Friday by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. Nor did extending SAFETEA-LU, which expires on July 1, though the memo does mention the House will consider some “stop-gap measures.”
What makes this even more strange is that Cantor states:
“the House will move forward this summer with a number of proposals aimed at addressing job creation and the economy….producing results that get Americans back to work.”
A new surface transportation bill will preserve and add thousands of construction-related jobs, and result in projects to move people and goods more quickly, safely and cleanly. That in turn will save people and businesses time and money.
Should we worry about the exclusion? I don’t think so. The agenda isn’t cast in stone, and the exclusion doesn’t mean transportation won’t be considered by the House. If negotiators reach a deal, House leaders would certainly schedule debate time. Little floor debate time would be needed, if House Republican negotiators have agreed to a final bill.
Also, the House’s “shell bill” that got them to conference includes a provision to extend SAFETEA-LU through the summer. So that could be a reason it’s not listed in the memo. But the memo seems focused on what the House will debate on the floor, and a negotiated transportation bill is not listed in the memo.
One wonders if the exclusion is a sign that House Republican leaders believe there will be no deal, and that T-LU will simply be extended.
Read the memo:
Larry Ehl is the founder and publisher of Transportation Issues Daily. In the public sector, Larry was Federal Relations Manager for Washington State DOT; Chief of Staff to US Senator Slade Gorton; and was twice elected to the Edmonds School Board.