President Extends Highway Law, House Preps Highway Bill

President Obama signed into law a bill that extends current highway law for three weeks, giving lawmakers until Nov. 20 to hammer out a multi-year highway bill.

The House of Representatives is expected to vote this week on its six-year, $325 billion Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2015 (STRRA), which would clear the way for the long-awaited conference with the Senate’s DRIVE Act passed in July.

Nearly 100 amendments had been filed with the Rules Committee on Oct. 30, including two proposals to attach a repeal of the crude export ban to the long-term highway bill. The House Rules Committee is expected to decide by Nov. 3 which will get floor votes, which means a full House vote on STRRA could happen by mid-week.

Even if passed by the full House, STRRA still needs funding, which falls under the jurisdiction of the House Ways and Means Committee. And the election of Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) as the 54th Speaker of the House has shifted the Ways and Means Committee's focus to finding his replacement. House Republicans could schedule elections as soon as this week, however, amid mounting pressure.

Senate leaders remain optimistic that they can finish a multi-year highway bill by Thanksgiving.

Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) said he anticipated a “very short conference period” and that conferencing the House and Senate bills can be done “in a matter of hours and not days.”


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