AASHTO Journal, 2 March 2012
Only one vote occurred this week in the Senate on MAP-21 — a controversial non-germane amendment dealing with contraception coverage in certain health-insurance policies was tabled by a vote of 51-48 Thursday morning.
“The Republican leader and others on the Republican side had made clear they wouldn’t allow the Senate to move forward on this piece of legislation until they got a vote on contraception,” Reid said Thursday afternoon on the floor while introducing Senate Amendment 1761. “Now we can move on to attempting to process other amendments.”
Senators voted 85-11 on Feb. 9 to proceed to a full debate of MAP-21. (see Feb. 9 AASHTO Journal story) Reid said progress since then has been too slow, with not a single amendment approved on the floor. The majority leader’s first effort to bring debate to a close failed Feb. 17 when 54 senators voted to curtail debate and 42 voted against — six votes short of the 60 required. (see Feb. 17 AASHTO Journal story)
“I would be very satisfied if the Senate adopted this amendment , which would serve as original text for the purposes of further amendment,” Reid said Thursday. “We need a path forward on this bill, and we don’t have one now. We continue work on an agreement to have votes on a number of non-germane amendments on which the Republican caucus says it wants.”
The majority leader announced this morning that a roll-call vote on a petition to close debate on the substitute will occur at noon Tuesday.
“It’s vital we complete work on this surface transportation bill and I am determined the Senate will do so and do so as quickly as possible,” Reid said.
Sens. David Vitter, R-Louisiana, and John Hoeven, R-North Dakota, spoke about MAP-21 during the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials Washington Briefing this week. (see related story) The House of Representatives is also considering a surface transportation reauthorization bill. (see related story)