Clock is ticking for Congress to pass infrastructure bill
September 23, 2021
•Land Line Staff
A year ago, lawmakers were forced to extend the FAST Act for another year after Congress couldn’t get a highway bill passed in time.
Fast forward to nearly a year later, and the clock is ticking as the current surface reauthorization bill expires at the end of September.
In late August, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi committed to a Sept. 27 deadline to vote on a Senate-approved infrastructure bill. However, NBC News, as well as numerous other national news outlets, report that conflict within the Democratic Party over the infrastructure bill and a $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation measure may hold up passage.
“Moderates are threatening to withhold support on the larger bill if they don’t get their Sept. 27 vote,” Roll Call reported. “Progressives are threatening to vote against the infrastructure plan until that larger measure passes both the House and Senate.”
If unable to get a bill passed in September, lawmakers could be forced to another extension of the FAST Act or to pass a short-term extension to buy the time needed to pass a new highway bill.
If the House is able to keep to its schedule, there will be a vote on the Senate-approved bipartisan infrastructure bill early next week.
The package includes $550 billion in new spending on roads, bridges, airports, ports, electric vehicle charging stations, internet, water systems, and other infrastructure needs. About $110 billion would go toward roads and bridges.
The bill, however, failed to dedicate any money toward truck parking. OOIDA cited the decision not to include funding for truck parking as a major reason it would not support the bill.
Outlining the trucking provisions in the bill, OOIDA said some of the measures it favored included improving the National Consumer Complaint Database and the establishment of a Truck Leasing Task Force. OOIDA listed some of the negative provisions as a congestion relief program, a pilot program for under-21 drivers, and moves toward mandates for automatic emergency braking and underride guards. LL