Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images
The dome of the U.S. Capitol is seen in Washington on July 31, 2011.
There’s nothing like a deadline to motivate Congress. This weekend, money runs out on the current extension of the transportation bill.
Now, with days to spare, House Republicans and Senate Democrats have found a transportation bill they can agree on. The deal has something for everybody — including students borrowing for their education.
Democrat Barbara Boxer of California, who co-authored the Senate’s bill, said House Republicans met Democrats halfway, “just as Senate Republicans did months ago.”
The bill keeps transportation funding at current levels, without, Boxer said, jeopardizing environmental laws. Her Republican co-author, Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma, confirmed that GOP provisions OKing the Keystone pipeline and loosening regulation of coal ash didn’t make the final cut.
The GOP did get two things they wanted: speedier environmental reviews and a provision that allows local governments to decide how to spend money set aside for bike paths.
House Speaker John Boehner said the transportation bill will also include a one-year extension of the lower interest rates on student loans.
Votes in the House and Senate are expected by Friday.