ROADS/BRIDGES: As expected, long-term funding can kicked further down the road

House of Representatives looks to vet three-month bill, won’t consider Senate’s six-year try

Funding News July 29, 2015
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The U.S. House of Representatives will vote today on a three-month highway-spending bill, paving the way for Congress to enjoy a six-week recess without a lapse in federal transportation funding. Senate leaders have indicated their intent to approve the three-month extension before the end of this week, when federal authority for road and infrastructure spending dries up.
The fight over infrastructure spending has split Senate and House Republican leaders, with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) saying his chamber would not consider the six-year highway bill crafted by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.). The chambers have been tussling over rival bills of late. The House prefers a five-month extension approved earlier this month over the Senate’s bill, which would fund roads and other infrastructure projects for three years and authorize spending for six years if lawmakers are able to find additional money later.
“I want a long-term highway bill that is fully paid for,” Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said following a House GOP conference meeting. “That has been the goal all year and that continues to be the goal. We’ve been trying to do this for four years, it’s time to get it across the finish line and I’m going to do everything I can to get to a long-term highway bill by the end of October.”
The decision to fund highways for three months means the Export-Import Bank loses a vehicle for its charter to be extended. The Senate highway bill includes a five-year renewal of the bank, which has run into opposition from conservatives but is backed by the White House, Democrats and a portion of the GOP. The charter will remain in limbo until a conference on a long-term highway bill, unless a separate vehicle is found.
Boehner further stated, “Sen. McConnell and I work very closely together on a whole host of issues, but there are times when the Senate has to do what the Senate has to do and the House has to do what it has to do. If you’ll notice, that doesn’t happen very often. It’s just that it’s happening this week.”

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