Congress successfully averted a lapse in federal funding for road and mass transit projects when the Senate on Thursday approved a three-month extension of the Highway Trust Fund.
The Senate voted 91 to 4 to clear the House-authored legislation that will allow the funding to continue through Oct. 29 while also providing about $3.4 billion in funding for veterans programs. The Senate also voted 65 to 34 in favor of a separate three-year funding bill that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) hopes will serve as the starting point for negotiations this fall over a long-term highway bill.
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Congress was forced to agree on a short-term bill after House and Senate Republicans failed to agree on a long-term funding package this month with the current program set to expire on July 31.
The ongoing struggle to reach a deal on transportation funding has in recent weeks exposed Republican infighting over the lack of a long-term plan for a program that supports transportation projects across the country.
House and Senate leaders said earlier this week that they hope the short-term extension will provide the House with enough time to draft its own long-term highway bill so that both chambers can enter formal negotiations in the fall.