House leadership may agree on size of highway reauthorization bill

News AP, AHUA March 17, 2004
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U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert and Majority Leader Tom DeLay reportedly reached an agreement late last week on a highway and transit reauthorization bill that would provide $275 billion over six years, according to the Associated Press.

Hastert said he had discussed the issue with President Bush but had received no indication whether the president would sign or veto such a bill. Bush has threatened to veto a bill larger than the White House’s proposed $256 billion reauthorization.

Bill Thomas, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, might convene his committee to mark up the financing section of the bill as early as today, according to a report from the American Highway Users Alliance.

Don Young, chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, was reportedly negotiating with the House leadership and had not announced whether he would support the new funding level. The bill Young proposed would authorize $375 billion in highway and transit spending over six years but relied on an increase in the gasoline tax. That tax increase was a big sticking point for the White House.

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