The Senate has approved a short-term extension of transportation programs, sending to President Biden stopgap legislation after the House again delayed a vote on a more than $1 trillion infrastructure bill.
The 30-day extension of the transportation programs effectively creates a new deadline for Democrats to resolve divisions that have held up the $1 trillion infrastructure bill in the House. There are between a dozen to 15 centrist Republican House members planning to vote for the bipartisan bill, which is not supported by a majority of Republicans due to linkage with social spending programs.
Biden called on House Democrats to hold off on approving the public-works legislation, which passed the Senate this summer with broad bipartisan support, until the party first unifies around a broader social policy and climate proposal.
Democratic lawmakers offered numerous options for pathways to pass the stalled infrastructure bill and reconciliation package after failing to bring either measure to a vote in the House. Some lawmakers said they were confident that they would be able to pass both measures while others, including some progressives who refused to vote for the bipartisan bill unless they could pass the larger reconciliation package first, suggested they’d be open to a smaller price tag or a shorter amount of years of funding social programs.
The National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association (NSSGA) President and CEO Michael Johnson issued the following statement after the House of Representatives voted to extend the surface transportation systems.
“Today’s short-term extension of our surface transportation systems is not the end of the line. Long-term infrastructure investment is what is needed and is an issue that is resoundingly supported by voters from coast to coast. A short-term extension exacerbates taxpayer-costs and project delays around the country. States will not be able to plan for the long-term, and thriving communities need the ability to depend on projects to attract businesses for investment opportunities.
“To be clear, Congress must do the job they were elected to do. Most in Congress won their office by campaigning on the need for infrastructure investment. It is inexcusable to have an infrastructure bill that was passed with a bipartisan, super majority in the Senate and is roundly supported by a majority of House members be held hostage for other political gains. We urge House members to do the responsible thing by representing the needs of their constituents – allow the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to pass and become law now.”