ROADS/BRIDGES: Highway bill blocked in Senate

A five-month highway funding bill failed to move forward in the Senate.

Funding News July 22, 2015
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A 1,030-page, six-year transportation-funding bill crafted by Sens. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., failed to move forward in the Senate Tuesday. Senators voted 56-41 to not bring the bill to a vote, saying they needed time to read it.
 
Oil sales and various offsets would provide the bill's $130 billion in funding, but those offsets were only identified for the first three years. The procedural setback could mean the Senate will continue to work on the bill over the weekend, according to McConnell.
 
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and other House GOP leaders have argued the shorter-term bill would allow more time to negotiate a six-year plan that would be fully paid for.
 
McConnell argued that with the passage of the five-month, the Senate will still be addressing a lack of federal highway funding come 2016, an election year in which a number of incumbent Senate Republicans face reelection races.
 
McConnell says that a vote to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank is likely, which he predicts will be opposed by many Republicans in the House and Senate.
 
The new bill includes nearly $50 billion in offsets to help pay for projects over the next three years.
 
It would generate $9 billion by selling crude oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve; $16 billion by cutting the dividend rate paid by the Federal Reserve; $4 billion by indexing customs fees to inflation and $2.3 billion by blocking Social Security payments to individuals with felony warrants..

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