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Senate Bill Introduced in House, Mica Plans to Unveil Extension Tomorrow

1:30 PM EDT on March 21, 2012

Two press releases from the House seem to indicate that members have emerged from recess intending to do something other than nothing. The first is from Transportation and Infrastructure chairman John Mica:

Tomorrow, I will introduce a short-term extension through June 30th to ensure continuity of current programs while I and House Republicans continue to work toward a responsible transportation bill that provides long-term certainty, reduces the size of government, eliminates earmarks, and is fully paid for. We continue to believe that linking energy and infrastructure is the responsible thing to do in order to meet our long-term needs

The extension is expected to be a "clean" one, without any funding or policy changes from current law.

Simultaneously, House Democrats have introduced the Senate bill, now christened H.R. 14:

“With more than 2.7 million construction and manufacturing workers out of work, enough with the political games. With tens of millions more seeking a better life, it is far past the time to stop the brinkmanship,” said U.S. Representative Nick J. Rahall (D-WV), top Democrat on the Committee and cosponsor of the bill. “If Congress does not act, the highway, transit, and safety programs will shut down a week from Saturday, on March 31. Let us seize the moment to move forward, without procedural gimmicks, without partisan political posturing, and do what is right for America. Let us do our jobs so that the American people can go back to theirs.  Let us send the Senate bill to the President.”

The two announcements mark the first flurry of activity on a House transportation bill since February, when H.R. 7 seemed to fizzle out somewhere between the committee room and the House floor. As Republican Congressman Tom Petri said at the National Bike Summit this morning, it is still likely that the House will pass an extension before any other bill.

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