Democrats today dealt a temporary setback to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) effort to accelerate consideration of a six-year surface transportation reauthorization bill.

McConnell advanced a parliamentary maneuver to prevent senators from delaying the bill that requires 60 votes to succeed. Senate Democrats, however, complained they had not been given time to read the new legislation and joined a handful of Republicans in voting against the procedural motion. The 1,000-plus page bill was released less than an hour before the vote, which failed 41 to 56.

McConnell said during a floor debate following the vote that he expected the chamber would work through the weekend to make progress on the measure. McConnell and Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Ranking Democrat Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) also discussed a letter signed by 68 national groups urging support for passage of a six-year surface transportation bill. ARTBA worked with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Association of Manufacturers and Associated General Contractors of America to draft and secure signatures for the letter.

Senate Democrats are widely expected to support the reauthorization bill and made it clear their opposition today was primarily to ensure they had time to review the revised legislation. A second procedural vote is scheduled for July 22. Please urge your senators—tonight or early tomorrow—to vote “Yes” on the motion to proceed to the surface transportation reauthorization bill.

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