On Wednesday, the United States Senate and House of Representatives passed a Continuing Resolution (CR) to keep the federal government open and funded at current levels through December 11, 2015. Several of the individual Appropriations bills for Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 have been passed by the House of Representatives, however, Senate Democrats have called for renewed negotiations on a broad budget agreement that would adjust the budget caps set under the Budget Control Act (BCA), which mandates across-the-board sequestration cuts when federal spending exceeds these caps. This short-term funding bill is intended to give leaders of the U.S. Congress and the President more time to negotiate higher budget caps for FY2016 and FY2017, past the next Presidential election cycle. The President is expected to sign this bill into law before midnight, which will mark the beginning FY2016.
House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Leaders Introduce Positive Train Control (PTC) Deadline Extension
The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee leadership today introduced a stand-alone PTC extension bill – H.R. 3651, the Positive Train Control Enforcement and Implementation Act of 2015. It was introduced by Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) and Ranking Member Peter DeFazio (D-OR), as well as Railroads Subcommittee Chairman Jeff Denham (R-CA) and Ranking Member Michael Capuano (D-MA).
The bill provides a three-year extension past the current deadline of December 31, 2015, with an additional two years at the discretion of the Secretary of the Department of Transportation based on good faith efforts and circumstances that may be beyond a railroad's control. Chairman Shuster stated, "Completion of the Positive Train Control mandate by the end of the year is not achievable, and extending the deadline is essential to preventing significant disruptions of both passenger and freight rail service across the country."
Chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation John Thune (R-SD) noted, "Our country's economy cannot afford the significant disruptions that will occur if we don't act soon. Reaching an agreement and passing legislation in the coming weeks is the only way to avert a rail service shutdown."
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