House, Senate disagree on transport bill extension
The multiyear spending plan for highway, safety and transit programs expired on Wednesday but the transportation programs are being funded until the end of October through a stopgap measure in a continuing appropriations resolution for the Department of Transportation.
Rep. James Oberstar, chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, urged the Senate the same day to pass a clean three-month extension of the SAFETEA-LU authorization bill, without any spending amendments.
The House last week passed a bill extending funding for transport programs at current levels through the end of the year, but the Senate has yet to vote on its version of the measure.
Oberstar said in a statement that a proposed Senate amendment to add spending to the bill would violate the House's pay-as-you-go rule, which requires spending cuts or revenue increases to offset any new spending.
'We have made it very clear that we will not consider a bill that violates PAYGO requirements,' he said.
Oberstar also complained that the Senate approach earmarks the majority of benefits under some discretionary programs to a small number of states. Under the Senate amendment, four states would receive 57 percent of all grants under Projects of National Significance, National Corridor, and Magnetic Levitation programs, he said.
Operating under the continuing resolution rather than an extension bill will reduce by $1 billion the amount of highway infrastructure aid available to states, Oberstar charged.