Text of House-Passed Version of DRIVE Act Released

November 10, 2015 – 8:30 a.m.

The enrolling clerk of the House of Representatives has finished assembling the 864-page clean print of the House-passed version of the DRIVE Act, which can be read here.

The House ordered that all the various amendments to the DRIVE Act be printed as one large amendment in the nature of a substitute, so all of the provisions of DRIVE that were not directly amended by the House are included in the engrossed House amendment, including the NHTSA vehicle safety and passenger rail provisions under the jurisdiction of the Senate Commerce Committee and the Export-Import Bank provisions in Division I.

The arrival of the clean print of the House version will allow committee staff to assemble side-by-side versions of the differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill (always a necessity for a conference committee between the chambers).

And the completion of the engrossment of the House amendment to DRIVE also means that, once the paperwork is officially transmitted to the Senate, the Senate can appoint its own conferees to begin work with the House – which could happen as soon as this afternoon.

Once the message from the House arrives, Majority Leader McConnell will make a three-part motion to reject the House amendment, agree to the conference requested by the House, and authorize the Presiding Officer to appoint conferees (probably in a specific numerical ratio that gives Republicans two more conferees than Democrats). Rules changes adopted by the Senate in 2013 restrict this previously filibusterable process to no more than two hours of debate plus up to two roll call votes, so the Senate could name its conferees by the end of the day today.

(Correction to last week’s ETW: the House changed its rules earlier this year to increase the number of calendar days that a conference can exist before House members can make unlimited motions to instruct its conferees from 20 to 45 (though the House Practice manual has not been updated yet to reflect this). 45 days from today would be Christmas Day, and the conference committee on this bill will almost certainly be completed or dismissed by that point.)

The House is in recess this week, so no actual meeting of House and Senate conferees can take place, but the formal naming of the Senate conferees will give the staffs of the House conferees a better idea of who they should be negotiating with.

We have also updated our Highway Trust Fund reference page to clean up and reorganize all of the information we added during House consideration of DRIVE (under “Recent Legislative Activity”), and to add an update to the CBO August 2015 HTF cash flow baseline to reflect the actual year-end 2015 HTF totals released by the Treasury Department and USDOT in late October (under “Financial Information”). Bookmark our HTF reference page here, since we will be updating it with House-Senate DRIVE comparison information throughout the conference process.

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