The Senate passed by a quick voice vote midday Thursday a two-week highway funding extension that ensures the country’s roads and bridge account won’t run dry while lawmakers finalize a long-term highway bill.
The legislation now goes to the White House for the president’s signature. The U.S. House passed the bill Tuesday.
The short-term patch — the fifth this calendar year and sixth since last May — extends current highway funding levels to Dec. 4. But this latest short-term patch could be the last for some time: Lawmakers are on the last leg of negotiations to push a long-term surface transportation funding package through Congress and send the bill to the president.
A dozen Senators and 28 Representatives have been delegated to a bicameral conference committee tasked with producing a multi-year both chambers can agree to. Both the Senate and the House have passed long-term bills this year, though the two bills, while similar, are not the same. It’s the conference committee’s job to reconcile the differences and bring a uniform bill back to their respective chambers.