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Senate May Fail to Passage Surface Transportation Reauthorization Extension

The U.S. Department of Transportation faces a menacing deadline this weekend that only the U.S. Senate can help it meet.  At midnight Sunday, vital transportation construction and safety programs will come to a stop if Senators do not act immediately to give the Department the authority to continue paying employees responsible for those critical activities. The current extension of the Transportation Equity Act (TEA-21) passed last fall by Congress will expire Sunday night.  Without another extension, I will be forced to furlough about 5,000 employees, most of them working in offices located in all 50 states.  Without an extension, today could be their last day on the job until funding resumes. The impact of missing the extension deadline could lead to serious problems in the days ahead.  It could halt the flow of federal dollars to hundreds of highway construction projects now underway across America.  It could delay federal approval of new projects.  And it could slow the ability of states to make debt payments. Without these employees, we won’t be able to assist with safety inspections of trucks crossing our borders.  We would have to defer safety compliance reviews conducted to make sure motor carriers are following safety regulations.  We would be unable to handle consumer complaints against household goods movers.  And several federal motorist safety programs would be put on hold. If the Senate fails to pass an extension, about 5,000 employees would be off the job Monday morning and the important work they do on behalf of the American people would come to a stand-still.  The Senate must pass a transportation bill extension today, allowing the Department of Transportation to continue its mission and resume its efforts to pass a long-term reauthorization bill.