President Biden signed H.R. 5763 into law on Oct. 31, extending authorization for the Department of Transportation’s Surface Transportation Programs until Dec. 3 – and effectively providing more time for Congress to consider two big pending infrastructure bills that contain billions of dollars of tech and cyber-related items.

The extension of the surface transportation programs will give congressional Democrats more time to try to pass their $1.75 trillion Build Back Better “soft” infrastructure bill without needing to immediately vote on the $1.2 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework – which contains long-term reauthorization of the surface transportation programs.

The White House released a framework for the $1.75 trillion reconciliation bill last week, and the House Rules Committee put together a new draft of the legislation.  That legislative draft is likely to undergo further changes before it gets put to a vote.

White House Sizes up Voting Timeline

Separately, the White House – which had previously hoped to get both pieces of legislation passed before President Biden left for his current overseas trip – now says that conversations with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi are leading officials that a vote on the $1.75 trillion Build Back Better bill could occur as early as this week.

“We’re going to be working really closely with the leadership in the House; the excellent Speaker, Speaker Pelosi.  We’re working closely with her,” Principal Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told a press gaggle this morning. “I understand that they mentioned that there’ll be a vote this week, which we support, but I don’t have anything else to say on timing.”

All eyes will now turn to the leadership of both chambers and the House Rules Committee, which will all be integral to bringing either bill to the House floor for a vote.

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Lamar Johnson
Lamar Johnson
Lamar Johnson is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.