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House and Senate reach agreement on highway-funding bill

House and Senate negotiators reached an agreement Wednesday night on a two-year highway-funding bill that reportedly will not include language forcing the Obama administration to approve the Keystone pipeline project.

The agreement is expected to be approved by a majority of the conferees later Wednesday night, with a final vote in the House and Senate by Friday when Congress adjourns for the Fourth of July break.

Republicans agreed to drop their insistence that Keystone’s approval be included in the measure — language that prompted President Barack Obama to threaten the bill with a veto, the Associated Press reported.

However, House Republicans scored a victory in striking language that would have awarded $1.4 billion to the Land and Water Conservation Fund to purchase more private property for government ownership.

This victory was in spite of a last minute lobbying effort by the National Rifle Association, which sided with environmentalists in favor of the funding.

Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.) and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) announced the bicameral, bipartisan agreement that would fund highway and transit programs at the current funding level until 2014.

Unlike the last transportation bill, which contained over 6,300 earmarks, this bill does not include any earmarks, nor will it raise taxes, Mica said.

“The unprecedented reforms in this legislation — cutting red tape, truly making projects ‘shovel ready,’ shrinking the size of the federal bureaucracy, attracting more private sector participation, and giving states more flexibility to address their critical priorities — will ensure that we more effectively move forward with major highway and bridge improvements and put Americans back to work,” Mica said.

Added Boxer: “We speed up project delivery, cut red tape, and do it without jeopardizing environmental laws. For the first time, we send half of the funds for bike paths and pedestrian walkways directly to local entities, and we protect those funds while giving states more flexibility on their share.”

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The measure, which the House and Senate are expected to vote on by Friday, does not include language forcing the Obama administration to approve the Keystone XL pipeline.

archive

House and Senate reach agreement on highway-funding bill

The measure, which the House and Senate are expected to vote on by Friday, does not include language forcing the Obama administration to approve the Keystone XL pipeline.

House and Senate negotiators reached an agreement Wednesday night on a two-year highway-funding bill that reportedly will not include language forcing the Obama administration to approve the Keystone pipeline project.

The agreement is expected to be approved by a majority of the conferees later Wednesday night, with a final vote in the House and Senate by Friday when Congress adjourns for the Fourth of July break.

Republicans agreed to drop their insistence that Keystone??s approval be included in the measure — language that prompted President Barack Obama to threaten the bill with a veto, the Associated Press reported.

However, House Republicans scored a victory in striking language that would have awarded $1.4 billion to the Land and Water Conservation Fund to purchase more private property for government ownership.

This victory was in spite of a last minute lobbying effort by the National Rifle Association, which sided with environmentalists in favor of the funding.

Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.) and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) announced the bicameral, bipartisan agreement that would fund highway and transit programs at the current funding level until 2014.

Unlike the last transportation bill, which contained over 6,300 earmarks, this bill does not include any earmarks, nor will it raise taxes, Mica said.

??The unprecedented reforms in this legislation — cutting red tape, truly making projects ??shovel ready,?? shrinking the size of the federal bureaucracy, attracting more private sector participation, and giving states more flexibility to address their critical priorities — will ensure that we more effectively move forward with major highway and bridge improvements and put Americans back to work,? Mica said.

Added Boxer: ??We speed up project delivery, cut red tape, and do it without jeopardizing environmental laws. For the first time, we send half of the funds for bike paths and pedestrian walkways directly to local entities, and we protect those funds while giving states more flexibility on their share.?

Written By

Audrey Hudson is an award-winning investigative journalist whose enterprise reporting has sparked numerous congressional investigations that led to laws signed by Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. She won the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi award for Public Service in 2009 for her report on dangerous drug experiments by the federal government on war veterans, which prompted internal investigations and needed reforms within the Veterans Affairs Department. The report also captured first place for investigative reporting by the Washington, D.C. chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and was a finalist of the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences Webby Awards for news and politics. Her breaking stories have been picked up and followed by major news publications and periodicals, including Readers Digest, Washington Monthly, and The Weekly Standard, as well as The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Washington Post. With nearly 20 years of experience in Washington as a newspaper reporter and as a Capitol Hill staffer for Western lawmakers, she will now lead Human Events?? coverage of energy and environmental issues. A native of Kentucky, Mrs. Hudson has worked inside the Beltway for nearly two decades -- on Capitol Hill as a Senate and House spokeswoman, and most recently at The Washington Times covering Congress, Homeland Security, and the Supreme Court. Audrey??s email is AHudson@EaglePub.Co

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