We hoped to have more to report for you all today, but Congress is great at making us hold our breath as long as possible. According to inside sources, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) has the full green light as soon as a vote on it is unlocked by sufficient agreement on the Build Back Better reconciliation bill is achieved. What a sufficient agreement on reconciliation looks like in practice has a dozen definitions, ranging from a full vote on the measure to legislative text to a detailed framework. Clear as mud. Top Democrats (as of 1 pm today) insist that agreement on the reconciliation framework could still be reached today, so votes could be held on the IIJA before President Biden leaves for his European trip Thursday. While most Hill-watchers are still skeptical, it’s not over until it’s over.

These furious “hand-to-hand” negotiations don’t give us clarity on how Congress will reauthorize surface transportation funding if the IIJA is not passed before the Halloween night deadline – far scarier than any mummies or ghosts coming to your door. Congressional leaders are not addressing this point publicly as of now, toeing the line that the full five-year extension embedded in the IIJA is preferable to another short-term extension. Members have told us that they hope to be back Saturday night to be trick-or-treating with their kids but understand that reauthorization in some form must occur before October is over. How this gets resolved is an hour-by-hour story that our team here in Washington will be following closely.