House OKs transportation bill aimed at keeping alive hope for Senate deal on long-term fix

WASHINGTON – The House has passed legislation aimed at keeping alive prospects for a long-term transportation plan that would provide highway and transit aid to states this year.

In the short term, the measure temporarily extends the power to spend money on transportation programs. That spending authority is set to expire on June 30, and the measure would extend that by three months.

But the real intent is to pave the way for negotiations with the Senate on a longer-term fix.

House Republican leaders have been unable to pass their own plan. The extension is a switch in tactics, and a signal that they’re resigned to using a Senate bill as the basis for potential compromise.

The extension bill, which passed 293-127, also would allow the Keystone XL oil pipeline to proceed.