Live-Blogging the Senate Transportation Extension Debate & Vote

Senators Barbara Boxer and Ben Cardin stand in front of the "Emergency Bridge Repair Team" -- a giant roll of duct tape -- to mock House Republicans' reluctance to pass a multi-year transportation bill. Photo: Nathan McCray/Office of Senator Boxer

The House of Representatives passed a 90-day extension of transportation programs by a vote of 266-158 shortly before noon today. The Senate passed it soon after by an unrecorded voice vote, but only after several Democrats tried (unsuccessfully) to replace the extension’s text with that of their own two-year reauthorization bill. The extension is now on its way to the President’s desk to be signed into law, averting a shutdown. Live updates from the full Senate debate are below.

2:40 Boxer: “It’s a sad day for America today. But we’re never going to give up over here.” Reset the game clock to 93 days.

2:37 Senate passes H.R. 4281 by voice vote. Landrieu asks to have her “no” vote recorded. Reid: “I appreciate my colleagues’ patience with the situation we find ourselves in, which is not a good one.”

2:35 Landrieu objects, McConnell counter-objects. No more objections. H.R. 4281 is now being read at the desk.

2:29 Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) “I object. I’m not going to object, but…” Just a formality at this point. Democratic Senators will continue to object to Reid’s motion to call up the extension, just to bash the house. McConnell will not consent to replace extension with Senate bill.

2:28 Sens. Cardin, Whitehouse continuing to object to Reid’s motion, still asking to amend H.R. 4281 with the text of S. 1813. McConnell continues to object to objections.

2:22 Boxer asks to modify/amend extension with text of S.1813. Minority Leader McConnell objects to Boxer’s objection.

2:21 Majority Leader Harry Reid asks unanimous consent to proceed to House’s 90-day extension (H.R. 4281). Boxer reserves right to object. Here we go, folks!

2:20 Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) says an extension will cost U.S. some 100,000 jobs. “A self-inflicted wound… more specifically, a House-inflicted wound.”

2:14 Landrieu tells the TX-LA-MS-AL-FL congressional delegation to read the RESTORE Act portion of the Senate bill, directing BP oil spill penalty money for gulf coast cleanup. “What is it about this bill that is driving you so crazy that you can’t accept the $10 billion the government is trying to give you?”

2:09 Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) speaking about transpo bill now. “If they [the House] had a bill,” we could come to terms. “What no one in the country understands… is how you don’t have a bill at all, and you haven’t been able to put one together for a year and a half. We put one together and it looks pretty good.”

1:17 Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC) says “passing another stopgap is not the solution.” Stresses support for the Senate bill.

1:07 The Hill reports that the White House has given a 90-day extension its blessing in the Senate.

12:45 Senator Boxer, from the floor, announces her intention to attach the two-year Senate transportation bill to the House’s extension, with the intention of forcing the two chambers into conference. No indication yet that she will succeed in doing so.