Obama signs 2-week transportation patch

Updated Nov 27, 2015

Traffic on highwayPresident Barack Obama signed into law on Friday the 36th short-term highway bill patch as Congress works out a unified long-term bill.

The new patch will extend funding through Dec. 4, by which time the House and Senate hope to have the first long-term highway bill in over a decade on the president’s desk.

The Hill reported that Obama used an autopen to sign the law since funding was set expire on Friday and the President is out of the country.

The House passed the patch Nov. 16, and the Senate followed suit a few days later. Lawmakers had hoped to have a new transportation bill ready to be signed into law by Thanksgiving, but they needed more time for the conference committee between members of the House and Senate.

Both chambers have already passed long-term transportation funding bills this year. The House passed the six-year, $325 billion Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act Nov. 5 with overwhelming bipartisan support. The Senate passed its long-term transportation bill called the DRIVE Act in June, but the House didn’t act on it because of certain concerns regarding funding—the bill had funding for three years, but made commitments for six.

As the bicameral conference got underway Lat week, House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pennsylvania) voiced confidence that the House and Senate could reach an agreement.