Highway funding remains at an impasse in Congress this week, as the House and Senate continue to debate how to extend funding for the program and for how long that extension should last.
Work on the Senate’s version of the highway bill has been slowed by intraparty GOP squabbles over issues including the federal Export-Import Bank, which the Senate voted late Monday to add to the highway bill, over heated objections from conservatives. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a California Republican, has repeatedly said the House won’t take up the Senate bill.
Cornyn framed the decision to punt as a set-up for a potential conference between Senate and House leaders when lawmakers return to Washington after their traditional August recess.
At the same time the extension sets up another potential standoff over transportation for the fall, a timeframe that already has all the makings for a major showdown between congressional Republicans and the White House over government spending levels and other issues, with a government shutdown threatening if a resolution is not reached.
Upton says that the House will likely pass its temporary roads plan on Wednesday.
This third group is no doubt the largest because it is politically the easiest position to take, and is the one responsible for the Senate bill.
“We’d love to get long-term solutions, but I think what we’ve realized in the first six or seven months are that smaller bites at the apple are much more doable”, said Sen. The short-term fix is meant to allow work on a six-year bill paid for by global tax changes.
The DRIVE Act includes a provision that would revive the Export-Import Bank, which expired in June.
The House originally passed a five-month extension aimed at allowing Republicans to craft a year-end global tax reform package that would collect hundreds of billions of dollars in revenue from the repatriation of foreign profits.
“The truth is if the majority leader hadn’t opposed us, we could have insisted that Iran recognizes Israel’s right to exist and released its hostages before any sanctions are lifted”, Cruz told reporters after the floor vote. “It would cost us about $1.2 billion immediately”, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe said Saturday. The Senate would follow suit.
About $163 billion is needed annually over a six-year period for highways, bridges and transit systems, yet only about $105 billion is being invested, according to a December report from the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials and the American Public Transportation Association. The legislation we’ll be debating later this week will go for a significantly longer period of time. He noted that the goal remains a long-term highway bill. The Hamilton Project, an initiative of the Brookings Institution, suggests having the gas tax fluctuate inversely with the price of gasoline, so drivers pay less tax when fuel prices are high.
“It’s frustrating”, Curbelo said regarding plans for a three-month highway funding extension.
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