ROADS/BRIDGES: U.S. Senate passes 6-year highway bill

Leaders had been working to secure this bill before recess, despite 3-month band-aid

Funding News July 30, 2015
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The U.S. Senate passed its long-term highway bill today with a 65-34 decision. The six-year bill funds federal highway and infrastructure projects. 
 
Democrats were split on the measure, with most of the caucus’s leadership voting against the bill negotiated by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), while fifteen Republican senators, including three 2016 presidential candidates, ignored the desire of the majority leader and voted against the proposal.
 
The legislation will face a tough sell in the House, which has committed to passing its own long-term highway bill after the August recess. The House has approved a three-month stopgap measure, which the Senate is expected to approve later today and which President Obama has indicated he will sign.
 
“The multi-year nature of this legislation is one of its most critical components. It’s also something the House and Senate are now united on,” McConnell said. “We all want the House to have the space it needs to develop its own bill, because we all want to work out the best possible legislation . . . in conference.”
 
Another hurdle for the long-term bill with the House is that it would extend the Export-Import Bank for a further five years. Conservatives in the lower chamber want to prevent the bank’s charter from being renewed. The legislation would be used to pay for $47 billion in funding for the Highway Trust Fund, accounting for only the first three years of the legislation. Under the Senate bill, leaders would have until 2018 to figure out how to pay for the full six years.

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