House Republicans are considering a short-term extension of the surface transportation bill instead of adopting the Senate’s two-year plan.
The decision to seek an extension as the March 31 deadline nears signals that the fight over transportation spending could become even more partisan as the presidential election nears. House Republicans are looking to push an extension of current spending for the ninth time, House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John Mica, R-Fla., told attendees of an American Association of Port Authorities conference, where he was honored as Port Person of the Year.
His statement on Tuesday was a clear sign that Republicans won’t heed Senate leaders’ and President Obama’s call to adopt the Senate’s $109 billion plan. Mica said he hoped the extension would be exempt from riders, which helped lead to a shutdown of the Federal Aviation Administration last summer.
House Republicans’ five-year, $260 billion has stalled after receiving criticism for being too costly and from Democrats for expanding domestic energy production. A proposal to scale down the bill to 18 months wasn’t successful, either.