The Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee voted unanimously (18-0) to favorably report a two-year highway reauthorization bill to the U.S. Senate. The meeting was notable by an atmosphere of bipartisanship — which is rare in Washington this year.
The “Big 4” — Chairman Boxer (D-Cal.), Ranking Member Inhofe (R-Okla.), Subcommittee Chairman Baucus (D-Mont.), and Subcommittee Ranking Member Vitter (R-La.) — along with the other Senators on the Committee spoke with pride about the spirit of working together across party lines towards this important milestone.
At least three other Committees will need to weigh in on other titles of the bill before the bill can be taken to the Senate floor. The funding title must be developed by the Senate Finance Committee, chaired by Senator Baucus. At today’s mark-up, Senator Baucus committed to find $12 billion in additional revenue to prevent cuts. The transit title will be developed by the Senate Banking Committee and the commerce title (including truck safety and possibly auto safety) will be developed by the Commerce Committee. The Highway Users urges all Committees involved to seek the type of bipartisan consensus found by the EPW Members.
The EPW Committee adopted a single amendment, which combined a manager’s amendment with several other Senators’ amendments that received unanimous support from the “Big 4” en-bloc. The “Big 4” agreed to oppose all other amendments and, in deference to the Committee leadership, all other amendments from Committee Senators were withdrawn without any votes.
The Highway Users urged support for the bill and sent a letter to the Committee leadership yesterday.
The text of the en-bloc amendment adopted by the Committee can be found in two separate links: Click here for the original managers’ amendment developed by the “Big 4”. And click here for the amendments accepted from other Members of the Committee.
The text and summary of the bill as introduced (before amendments were added) can be found on the EPW Committee website.