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DOT furloughs 3,700 workers after House fails to vote on infrastructure bill

2October 2021

President Biden walks with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Capitol Hill on Friday after attending a meeting with the House Democratic Caucus to try to resolve an impasse around the bipartisan infrastructure bill.

Susan Walsh/AP

Susan Walsh/AP

The Department of Transportation says 3,700 of its employees have been temporarily furloughed, after the House of Representatives failed to pass the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill.

Before adjourning Friday, the House passed a temporary extension to fund the federal highway program, but it still has to be voted on by the Senate. That vote is expected to come Saturday afternoon.

A department spokesperson said agency officials are taking “every step we can to mitigate the impacts of this temporary lapse in authorization” and are working closely with Congress.

The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials criticized Congress’ failure to pass the infrastructure bill in a statement, calling it “unacceptable.”

“Yesterday’s inaction on the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act isn’t just disappointing—it lapses our highway, transit, and highway safety programs and halts work on vital transportation infrastructure around the country,” Jim Tymon, the organization’s executive director, said.

“We are dealing with very real repercussions,” he added. “Thousands of federal employees at USDOT are being furloughed and $50 billion of federal surface transportation programs supported by the Highway Trust Fund are being suspended. This is unacceptable.”

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