April 18, 2012

House passes transportation extension, bill advancing pipeline

WASHINGTON, D.C. — By a 293-127 vote, the Republican-controlled House extended transit and highway funding through September and passed a transportation bill that would advance the Keystone XL pipeline, defying a White House veto threat and setting the stage for a round of contentious negotiations with the Senate, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The Senate rejected an effort to include the project in its two-year $109-billion transportation bill, while Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) found it difficult to garner support for his original five-year $260 billion package that called for the advancement of the Canada-to-Texas pipeline.

“…This bill moves forward with the Keystone pipeline project. While the Administration meanders on developing any kind of real energy policy, this measure will help lower energy costs and create jobs for Americans, particularly important as gasoline prices continue to skyrocket because of the squeeze that the Obama Administration has put on production of our energy assets here at home,” said House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Chairman John L. Mica.

Meanwhile, Scott Slesinger, legislative director for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) said with an opportunity to make tangible progress on the nation’s critical transportation needs, House Republicans instead “persisted in playing political games rather than providing real jobs and transportation improvements for the American people.”

Added Slesinger: “As this bill moves to Conference, we urge the House members to drop their irrelevant and dangerous provisions and adopt the bipartisan Senate bill.”

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and others said the latest move by the House makes the hope of passing a transportation authorization bill highly unlikely before the November election, according to The Hill.

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