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How a Stopgap Bill Could Restore Transportation Programs

The House approved a stopgap bill on Friday night to revive key surface transportation programs that lapsed at the end of the fiscal year on Thursday and bring back nearly 4,000 furloughed workers.

While Congress passed legislation on Thursday to avert a government shutdown, it did not address expiring transportation programs that would be reauthorized by the bipartisan infrastructure bill President Biden and lawmakers negotiated this year. With a vote on that legislation delayed by deep disputes among Democrats, the new fiscal year began on Friday with those programs temporarily frozen and about 3,700 Transportation Department workers furloughed.

The stopgap bill, which passed the House by a vote of 365 to 51, would extend the programs through Oct. 31. The Senate will seek to pass it on Saturday, Senator Ron Wyden, Democrat of Oregon, said on Friday night.

House Democratic leaders had tried to use the fiscal year deadline to pressure rank-and-file lawmakers to support passage of the bipartisan infrastructure bill on Thursday, though they were ultimately unsuccessful. The infrastructure bill would update and maintain highway, transit and rail programs for five years, among other provisions.

Jim Tymon, the executive director of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, called the inaction “disappointing” and “detrimental to our economy and the quality of life of our communities.”

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