Monday, November 19, 2007

Pre Thanksgiving Recess Congressional Action (Courtesy of APTA)

The U.S. House and Senate are out of session until Tuesday November 27th. They were unable to complete work on spending measures before Thanksgiving, and are considering a new spending bill to wrap up the remaining 11 approps bill into an omnibus package. The new bill will “split the difference” of the $22 billion that Congress intends to appropriate over the level proposed by the President. This leaves approximately $484 billion for the remaining 11 bills.

In action before the recess:

· On Wednesday (11.14), the House approved the Transportation-HUD approps bill (H.R. 3074) by 270-147, eight votes shy of the veto-proof margin. The White House reiterated the veto threat, as the bill is $3 billion above the level requested by the President. The Senate failed to consider the spending bill before leaving for Thanksgiving recess.
· The President vetoed the Labor-HHS (H.R. 3043) spending bill. The House subsequently failed to override the veto by a 277-141 margin.
· The President did sign into law the appropriations bill for the Department of Defense (H.R. 3222); attached was the CR to fund the government to Dec. 14.
· Rep. Jim Costa (D-CA) introduced two bills (H.R. 4122 and H.R. 4123) on Nov. 8th to support the development of high-speed rail in the US and provide for the creation of a national high-speed rail authority , respectively. Both bills were referred to the House Transportation and Infrastructure committee.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Legislative Update, Week of 10/29

Climate Change! Earlier this week, the Senate Environment and Public Works subcommittee on private sector and consumer solutions to global warming and wildlife protection marked-up S.2191, America's Climate Security Act of 2007. The Lieberman/Warner bill includes suggestions for nine categories to which states can provide funding to meet the goal of reducing greenhouse gases. Public transportation has been named as one of the nine. The bill, with amendments, passed out of the subcommittee by a 4-3 vote and will be reviewed by the full EPW committee in mid-November.

Disabled Access: Earlier this week, the House Transportation & Infrastructure committee approved HR. 3985, a bill that authorizes the revocation of operating licenses of commercial buses not complying with federal accessibility regulations for the disabled.