Rumors are swirling around Capitol Hill that the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee is being told not to produce a long-term highway bill prior to the Congressional August recess because it has no chance of reaching a vote.
DC.Streetsblog.org is reporting that a source close to the situation says House Speaker John Boehner has mentioned to House T&I Committee Chairman John Mica that marking up a bill would essentially be a wasted effort because it would never reach a vote on the House floor. In early June, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor released a list of bills on the docket leading up to the break, and reauthorizing the highway bill did not make the cut. The current extension expires on Sept. 30.
The focus of Congress moving forward is the debt ceiling deadline, which is Aug. 2. It is not clear if Mica still plans on introducing a new highway bill next week. Sources close to ROADS & BRIDGES magazine say Mica is simply towing the line of Republican leadership, and if Boehner is suggesting nothing will get done on a highway bill then chances are no significant progress will be made leading into 2012.
On the other side, the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works seems ready to release its version, but it most likely will not come up to a vote until the House bill is approved. The Senate still seems to be leaning towards a two-year transportation bill to get Congress past the next presidential elections.