Congress Buys Time on Highway Bill

Congress Buys Time on Highway Bill

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Congress has bought itself more time to finish work on a long-term transportation bill.

The Senate has passed an extension of the government's authority to keep highway and transit aid flowing to states through Dec. 4. That authority was set to expire on Friday.

The extension — already passed by the House — now goes to President Barack Obama.

Both the House and Senate have passed separate measures that would set transportation policy for the next six years. The bills are similar, but negotiators say they need more time to reconcile scores of differences and to settle on how to pay for transportation programs.

Transportation groups say they'd rather have more money over fewer years than less money over six years.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest, accompanying Obama on a flight from Manila to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Friday, told reporters that Obama has given authority for the legislation to be signed by autopen.

Earnest said there is precedent for signing legislation via autopen, including an extension of legislation that is about to expire while the president is overseas.