Federal highway inspectors and hundreds of other employees at the Department of Transportation may soon be able to return to work, after Sen. Jim Bunning, R-Ky., dropped his objection to legislation which would authorize the National Highway Trust fund for an additional 30 days.
After repeatedly blocking the bill, using parliamentary maneuvers, over the past four days, Bunning relented after reaching a deal with Senate leaders, which will allow the Senate to vote on his amendment, to pay for the bill's $10 billion price tag.
Two thousand Transportation workers were indefinitely furloughed on Monday, after the highway trust fund's authorization expired and the Department could no longer re-imburse states for highway projects. The extension would also extend unemployment benefits, COBRA health insurance, and other federal programs.
UPDATE: The bill is passed. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a released statement that employees should report to work on Wednesday.