FY24 Transportation Funding Bill Awaits Consideration
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Floor debate on the transportation bill had been scheduled for earlier this month. The legislation is meant to avoid funding disruptions for most operations at the department for the next fiscal year.
Before the House’s leadership debate, Congress cleared for President Joe Biden a short-term appropriations funding fix which is keeping the federal government operating through Nov. 17.
With former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) ousted from office earlier this month, a majority of the Republican caucus announced the backing of Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) for the chamber’s top job. But Scalise withdrew his nomination Oct. 12 after it became apparent he didn't have the votes. Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio will again run to be speaker, his office confirmed Oct. 13.
In attempting to win over his colleagues, Scalise pointed to the chamber’s legislative record.
“We’ve passed a lot of legislation to help families get back on track, to address our border crisis, to get our economy moving again, to address the spending in Washington that’s driving inflation, high energy costs. All of those bills that we passed — and that we’re going to continue to pass — that are sitting over in the Senate need to be taken up. We’ve passed over 70% of the bills to fund the government dealing with appropriations and setting the priorities of this nation’s spending. And the Senate has taken up zero,” Scalise said Oct. 11. “The Senate has to start doing their work.”
House Republicans have an interim leader in Speaker Pro Tempore Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.). However, the chamber must have an elected speaker to conduct legislative work.
The House committee-passed appropriations bill would dedicate nearly $1 billion for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. It also would fund safety programs, infrastructure grants and supply chain improvement projects. Top Republicans called on lawmakers to approve the legislation before the mid-November funding deadline.
“We are focused on our troops and our veterans as well as defending our homeland and our interests abroad. At the same time, the bills we have drafted demonstrate that we must stop government overreach and the out-of-control spending of the last few years,” House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Kay Granger (R-Texas) said recently. “These are the most conservative appropriations bills in history.”
The House $90.2 billion fiscal 2024 transportation measure also funds operations at the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The bill would provide $62 billion for the Federal Highway Administration, $19.5 billion for the Federal Aviation Administration, $14.6 billion for the Federal Transit Administration, $1.4 billion for the Federal Railroad Administration and $1.2 billion for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. On trucking policy, it would prohibit requirements linked to inward-facing cameras on commercial motor vehicles.
Meanwhile, the Senate version would provide $98.9 billion for the departments of Transportation and Housing and Urban Development. It would dedicate $20.2 billion for FAA, $16.8 billion for FTA and $3.4 billion for FRA. The Senate bill also would provide FMCSA with nearly $1 billion for fiscal 2024.
After Congress averted a federal shutdown Sept. 30, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) credited bipartisanship: “The Senate showed that bipartisanship was the only way. And the same will be true again in 45 days.”
“Partisanship is not a path forward — it’s a path to chaos,” said Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. “The only way to avoid a shutdown — the only way to get things done — especially in a divided Congress is to sit down with the other side and do the hard work of negotiating [and] talking to one another.”
The Senate resumes its legislative agenda Oct. 16.
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