Senate Bides Time as Highway Bill Negotiations Continue

Collins departs from the weekly Senate Republicans luncheon on Nov. 10. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

It might feel like Groundhog Day with another deadline arriving to fund highway programs, but negotiators hope this one will be the last.  

They have until the end of the week to produce and advance a conference agreement on transportation programs, absent another extension. It's also the vehicle for reviving the Export-Import Bank.  

It's Crunch Time Again in Congress

Thune answers a question after the Oct. 20 weekly Republican Senate news conference. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

On deadline: That's the theme of the next two weeks on Capitol Hill.  

The current stopgap highway funding expires Thursday, and the Treasury Department said Congress must raise the debt limit by Nov. 3. Upholding the full faith and credit of the United States is trickier. Senate Republicans are hoping the House — perhaps in a final act by retiring Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio — takes the first leap in passing legislation to provide an increase in the nation's borrowing authority.  

Debt Limit, Highways Wait as Republicans Tackle Sanctuary Cities

Vitter is behind bills on sanctuary cities and toxic substances. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Senators return to Washington this week facing a crush of must-pass legislation, but before the chamber can get to the debt limit or highway funding, Republicans want to express outrage over "sanctuary cities."  

A Republican proposal to cut federal funding to cities that defy immigration laws is expected to be blocked by Democrats when the Senate gets back to work Tuesday. "Kate Steinle’s brutal murder at the hands of an illegal immigrant remains a raw, painful memory. Tuesday, the U.S. Senate will vote to stop rewarding sanctuary cities for providing a safe haven for illegal immigrants. Rather than reward cities, we must start enforcing our current immigration laws and strengthen our borders to keep Americans here safe at home," Sen. David Vitter, the sponsor of the legislation set for a Tuesday test vote, said in a statement to CQ Roll Call.