Negotiators selected to mold passable highway bill

By |  November 12, 2015

The House and Senate selected members of both parties to serve as negotiators who can eliminate differences that exist in the separate, multi-year highway bills both chambers drafted. Their task is to take elements of both and create a version both chambers can pass, according to The Hill.

Both the House and the Senate passed highway bills that guarantee at least three years of highway and transit spending, but only if Congress can come up with a way to pay for an additional three years. According to The Hill, Congress hopes to develop an agreement before a Nov. 20 deadline to renew federal highway spending.

The House selected 12 Democrats and 16 Republicans as negotiators, according to the National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association (NSSGA). House Democrats selected were Corrine Brown (D-Fla.), Michael Capuano (D-Mass.), Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas), Daniel Lipinski (D-Ill.), Rick Larsen (D-Wash.), Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), Grace Napolitano (D-Calif.), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-Washington, D.C.) and Albio Sires (D-N.J.). House Republicans selected were Bruce Babin (R-Texas), Lou Barletta (R-Pa.), Rick Crawford (R-Ark.), Jeff Denham (R-Calif.), John Duncan (R-Tenn.), Blake Farenthold (R-Texas), Bob Gibbs (R-Ohio), Garret Graves (R-La.), Sam Graves (R-Mo.), Cresent Hardy (R-Nev.), John Katko (R-N.Y.), Candice Miller (R-Mich.), Scott Perry (R-Pa.), Reid Ribble (R-Wis.), Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) and Rob Woodall (R-Ga.).

The Senate selected six Democrats and seven Republicans as negotiators. Senate Democrats selected were Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.). Senate Republicans selected were John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and John Thune (R-S.D.).

“Both the Senate and the House bills have many similarities that will allow for a very short conference period,” Inhofe says.

“With this milestone, Congress should be able to send a bill to the president’s desk by Thanksgiving,” he adds. “This will allow for our nation to avoid the Highway Trust Fund hitting a dangerously low level, which DOT Secretary Anthony Foxx warned would significantly affect the 2016 construction season.”

NSSGA expressed optimism upon learning of those appointed to negotiate a compromised bill.

“Appointing conferees for the bill brings us that much closer to final action on this critical legislation,” says Pam Whitted, NSSGA senior vice president of legislative and regulatory affairs. “NSSGA looks forward to working with these members of Congress to achieve our industry’s primary goals for reauthorization – increased investment in our country’s infrastructure and the certainty of a six-year bill.”

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