White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Friday President Barack Obama will sign the highway funding bill "as soon as it arrives at the White House," adding reporters should expect a "paper statement" from the president when that occurs.
The House passed a more than $325 billion, six-year surface transportation reauthorization package and agreed to a bicameral conference on the legislation during a final round of votes Thursday that wrapped up a dizzying three days of floor debate.
The House voted 363-64 to adopt a package of House amendments to the Senate’s six-year authorization passed at the end of July. That action effectively amounted to the House making its version of the bill an amendment to the Senate's version, thus putting the two measures on the same legislative vehicle.
Republican colleagues in the House and Senate speak to CQ Roll Call about Speaker Paul D. Ryan’s first two days on the new job. Sen. John Thune, who has worked with Ryan in the Congress since 1998, told CQ he looks forward to working with Ryan and his colleagues in the House. Some of the key areas Thune mentioned include the highway bill, tax and regulatory reform, energy policy and national security.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell did not promise floor time to consider a reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank on Tuesday, but suggested the legislation could be attached to a long-term highway bill.
“For the Ex-Im supporters, of which I am not one, I gave them an opportunity on the highway bill and the supporters got 65 votes,” McConnell said. “So that’s — it’s pretty clear there are a significant number of senators who support it. The way to achieve Ex-Im, if it’s going to be achieved in the Senate, would be in the context of the highway bill."
Once the House passes its version of a six-year highway bill and a conference with the Senate is formed, negotiators could resolve their differences in a matter of a few hours, Senate Environment and Public Works Chairman James M. Inhofe said in a speech on the Senate floor Monday.