The U.S. House of Representatives Tuesday easily passed a short-term extension of highway funding through March 31.
Transportation funding is set to expire at the end of this month.
The Senate is expected to take up the bill, H.R. 2887, as early as today. The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee has approved a four-month extension of the highway program, but committee Chairman Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., said she welcomes the longer extension.
In a statement, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) accused Republicans of holding up a long-term reauthorization of both bills.
"Democrats have repeatedly called on Republicans to fully and responsibly fund the highway and FAA bills, creating jobs rebuilding America's roads and airports," Pelosi said. "Today, House Republicans agreed to temporarily fund these critical initiatives, but Americans are demanding more than temporary solutions to our jobs crisis. That's why we're calling on Republicans to work with Democrats to approve long-term reauthorizations of both measures."
John Mica, the Florida Republican who chairs the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said it's the last time he's going to go for such an extension. Mica has been pushing a six-year reauthorization bill funded only by what the Highway Trust Fund produces, which amounts to a 36% cut in highway funding.
Boxer has been pushing a two-year bill with the aim of preserving the current funding at $54.5 billion a year. This depends, however, on the Senate Finance Committee coming up with $12 billion over and above what will be generated by the Highway Trust Fund.