Senate squabble jeopardizes major highway bill that would remove CSA scores; vote could still come this week

The Senate’s bill would remove scores in the Compliance, Safety, Accountability program from public view.The Senate’s bill would remove scores in the Compliance, Safety, Accountability program from public view.

The Senate’s DRIVE Act, a six-year highway funding act that would remove carriers’ CSA scores from public view, nearly hit a fate-sealing wall Friday, but a special Sunday session appears to have the legislation back on track. And lawmakers in Congress’ upper chamber could vote on the legislative package as early as Monday, July 27.

Congress is, however, now just days away from the latest expiration of U.S. highway funds, and both chambers of Congress must come to an agreement on how to proceed: The Senate’s long-term measure, if passed, or the House’s short-term measure, already passed by the House and sent to the Senate for approval.

Following a few days of back and forth jabs between lawmakers in the Senate over potential amendments to the already 1,000-page long bill, Senate leaders say they’re ready to make another push at getting the legislation passed and sent to the House before Congress’ month-long August recess.

However, House leaders have made no qualms about what they intend to do with the bill if they receive it this week: Nothing, for now.

The House passed earlier this month a short-term patch that funds roads and bridges through the middle of December, and leaders Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) say the lower chamber has concluded its work on highway funding bills until after the August recess, setting up a potential showdown between Republican leaders in the two chambers.

If the Senate can pass its highway bill early this week — and if lawmakers in the House stick to their word —  the Senate may have to also take up the House’s short-term patch before Friday, as to prevent highway funding from running dry during Congress’ recess.