It took three attempts for the House to approve the current three-month extension of the transportation bill on March 29 that would have expired on March 31. On April 18 they approved a subsequent 3-month extension that is needed by June 30 if a new reauthorization bill is not approved.
The Hill's Ben Geman, Russell Berman and Keith Laing explain Speaker John Boehner's (R-Ohio) motivation in the inclusion of the controversial pipeline in the extension, and how it relates to the 5-year reauthorization bill (HR 7) that was unable to pass the House.
"If I had my druthers, H.R. 7 would have been on the floor six weeks ago. But there weren't 218 votes to do this," Boehner told reporters, speaking of the failed five-year package. "So you have to go to Plan B, and Plan B is on the floor today, and I'm hopeful we'll be in conference soon."
"The purpose of this extension is that we can hopefully bring about resolution and conference legislation to complete our transportation bill," Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.), the chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said April 18.
"Obama, facing divisions in his political base, has delayed a permitting decision on the project until after the election and threatened to veto the House bill over the pipeline language."
Thanks to The Hill's E-news