Congress Passes Emergency 30-Day Funding Extension Averting USDOT Shutdown
Washington D.C. – Thousands of United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) employees will remain on the job after Congress approved a temporary funding extension over the weekend.
On Friday, after the September 30 deadline to reauthorize funding for federal highway programs had passed, the U.S. House of Representatives approved an emergency 30-day funding extension.
Then on Saturday the Senate approved the House’s temporary extension by unanimous consent, thus ensuring approximately 3,700 USDOT employees — who were set to be furloughed next week — would remain on the job and highway construction projects would not be stalled.
According to a memo issued last week, the USDOT warned an extended lapse in funding would result in 22,312 of the Department’s 53,731 employees being furloughed.
Of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s 1,115 workers, 798 would be furloughed.
The emergency temporary funding measure comes amid squabbling among Democrats on Capitol Hill over how to proceed on President Biden’s roughly $5 trillion “Build Back Better” agenda.
A few dozen progressive Democrats in the House refuse to vote in favor of the Senate’s $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill until the Senate first approves trillions more dollars in social spending through budget reconciliation.
The political standoff reached a boiling point on Friday as President Biden trekked to the Capitol but was unsuccessful in brokering a deal.
Despite the rancor and chaos, Democrats seem determined to stay the course with their strategy.
In a statement on Saturday, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) again reiterated her intention to pass both the infrastructure legislation as well as the social spending package together.
If Pelosi is unable to do so by October 31st, Congress will likely be forced to once again approve a temporary funding extension in order to avert USDOT furloughs.