The House did something productive this week. Well, semi-productive. They
managed to pass
a short-term highway funding bill. So that they can come back again in two months and do it all over again.
The U.S. House voted to keep federal money flowing for highways and mass-transit programs for two more months, through the end of July.
Lawmakers voted 387-35 on Tuesday for the short-term measure to give themselves time to negotiate toward a longer extension. The Senate also plans to vote on the measure this week before Congress leaves Washington for a week-long Memorial Day recess. […]
The two-month extension “was not our preferred path forward,” Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster, a Pennsylvania Republican, said on the House floor before the vote. He said he would have preferred to extend the program through at least the end of the year.
“Unfortunately, we were unable to reach an agreement on a seven-month extension, so we are left with a two-month patch,” Shuster said.
The Senate, of course, can ruin all that if Majority Leader Mitch McConnell continues his foot-dragging as the House moves toward leaving for Memorial Day recess midday Thursday. As of Wednesday afternoon, the pending legislation on the floor was Trade Promotion Authority with a fight over process
as McConnell tries to prevent Democrats from offering amendments. At the same time, Sen. Rand Paul was conducting an extended speech
(not really a "filibuster" as he calls it) to try to prevent McConnell from moving forward with extending the PATRIOT Act's bulk metadata provision. McConnell's ploy has been to play out the clock to the last minute to try to force that vote, leaving the highway funding more or less hanging in the balance.
Not well played, Mr. McConnell.
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