Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said today he remains hopeful a deal can be reached on highway legislation by Friday and avoid the need for another short-term extension.
“We’re making progress on the highway bill. I mean, really, I feel good about that,” Reid said, noting his discussions with Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), Senate Environment and Public Works Chairman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman John Mica (R-Fla.).
“Whether we get it done remains to be seen. But the House in an overwhelming vote [Wednesday], totally bipartisan ... instructed the conferees to come back with a bill by tomorrow,” Reid added.
Reid’s upbeat assessment is the clearest indication that the marathon negotiations between Boxer and Mica — which have been closely monitored by both Reid and Boehner — could be close to bearing fruit.
Mica and Boxer released a vaguely-worded joint statement this afternoon indicating they are making progress, but would not meet the end of the week deadline set by their leaders
“The conferees have moved forward toward a bipartisan, bicameral agreement on a highway reauthorization bill. Both House and Senate conferees will continue to work with a goal of completing a package by next week,” they said.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.