The House easily passed a ten-month Highway Trust Fund patch yesterday on a lopsided vote, and with just over two weeks until DOT has to cut payments to states, the fate of fund now lies with the Senate. Across the Capitol, just hours before the House voted 367-55 for the bill, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid outlined a plan to set up votes on three separate bills: the House version, the Senate Finance measure that differs on several issues and a plan from Sen. Barbara Boxer to extend policy through December in an effort to force a vote on a long-term bill this year.
But a unanimous-consent agreement setting up those votes might be difficult – only one senator can block it. And with the White House’s endorsement (http://1.usa.gov/1mPyWiZ) of the House bill, expect plenty of Republicans to push for a clean vote on the lower chamber’s bill. It won’t be quick or painless, but the consensus speculation is that the Senate will end up passing the House’s bill before the August recess.
Congressmen Polis and Gardner both voted for the bill. NAR sent a letter in support of the House bill, saying, “At a juncture when local economies – and the residential and commercial real estate markets that anchor those economies – are struggling to regain their vitality, it is of utmost importance that funding and financing are available for transportation investments that foster economic development and facilitate sustainable growth.”