Senate Democrats tapped a well-worn gimmick Wednesday--a countdown clock.-- to pressure the House to vote on a transportation measure before current federal transportation funding expires March 31.
Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Mark Begich (D-Alaska) unveiled the latest iteration of the clock at a news conference.
Democrats in both chambers want the House to vote on the two-year, $109 billion transportation bill approved by the Senate. But House Republicans — facing pressure from tea party-aligned members — have failed at least three times in the last few days to bring the funding measure to a full vote.
The House is expected to pass a 90-day extension temporary extension of federal transportation funding Thursday, aides to Republican lawmakers say.
But the fate of such a short-term extension remains uncertain in the Senate.
Here’s what else is worth keeping tabs on today:
— Bipartisan plan to cut deficit earns meager support in the House (by Rosalind S. Helderman in The Washington Post): The vote is a real disappointment for those who thought Congress could strike a grand bargain on cutting the deficit.
— Tea party freshman Joe Walsh readies for tough fight (by David Cantanese in Politico): “Even before Iraq War veteran Tammy Duckworth had locked down the Democratic nomination last week, the blustery 50-year-old freshman Republican had begun framing his reelection contest against her in grandiose terms.”
— GOP makes gains on Senate scoreboard (also by David Cantanese in Politico): “After a raucous February, Republican Senate candidates were on the rise in March, making gains in Nevada, Missouri, Ohio and Florida” in the publication’s monthly rankings of the most competitive races.
— For Seven Hopefuls, Politics Is in Their Genetics (by Joshua Miller in Roll Call): “Attorney Joseph Kennedy III is one of seven sons of former House Members running for Congress this cycle, a group that will find out in the coming months the pluses and perils that come with being an ex-Congressman’s kid on the campaign trail.”
— Inauguration Planning Under Way in Congress (by Emma Dumain in Roll Call): “Gathered in the ornate President’s Room just off the Speaker’s Lobby, the six members of the special Joint Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies met briefly [Wednesday] to designate itself as the organizing body of the swearing-in celebrations next January.”
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