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Senate Considers Jobs Act Proposal; GOP Offers Two-Year Authorization Bill as Alternative

This week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) brought before the Senate the transportation infrastructure component of President Obama’s American Jobs Act. In response to this proposal, Senate Republicans offered a two-year surface transportation authorization bill as an alternative.

Neither proposal was able to get the required 60 votes for passage. On a 51-49 vote, the Senate failed to overcome a filibuster over whether to proceed to S. 1769, which included the $50 billion in President Obama’s proposed American Jobs Act for DOT infrastructure spending. The Republican alternative, a two-year transportation funding bill introduced by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), fell with 47 votes for and 53 votes against. The wide-ranging GOP bill incorporated a copy of the most recently enacted surface transportation extension law and all current law dollar amounts prorated for that period of time.

Contact Your Senators
The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee is scheduled to mark up the highway portion of a two-year surface transportation authorization bill on Nov. 9.

It is therefore critical for APTA members to contact senators on the Finance Committee to urge them to support the efforts of Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) to mark up the finance title of the Senate bill.

If one of your senators serves on that committee, make sure to point that out when you ask for his or her support.

Other members of the Senate Finance Committee are Orrin Hatch (R-UT), ranking member; John D. Rockefeller IV (D-WV); Kent Conrad (D-ND); Jeff Bingaman (D-NM); John Kerry (D-MA); Ron Wyden (D-OR); Charles Schumer (D-NY); Debbie Stabenow (D-MI); Maria Cantwell (D-WA); Bill Nelson (D-FL); Robert Menendez (D-NJ); Thomas R. Carper (D-DE); Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD); Charles E. Grassley (R-IA); Olympia J. Snowe (R-ME); Jon Kyl (R-AZ); Michael D. Crapo (R-ID); Pat Roberts (R-KS); Michael B. Enzi (R-WY); John Cornyn (R-TX); Tom Coburn (R-OK); John Thune (R-SD); and Richard Burr (R-NC).

These markups are vital to initiating consideration of a multi-year surface transportation authorization bill in the Senate that preserves funding for public transportation programs.

APTA is running ads in the inside-the-Beltway publications and web sites targeted to congressional members and staff.

Boehner: Bill by End of Year
Separately, on Nov. 3, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) announced that House Republicans will introduce an energy and infrastructure jobs bill that they hope to move through the House before the end of the year. While details are still being provided, Boehner indicated that the proposal would be funded in part with revenues from expanded oil and gas drilling.

Rep. John Mica (R-FL), chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, has said that this legislation would include a six-year authorization of surface transportation law.
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