House Passes Five Month Extension, Senate Fate Uncertain

Screen Shot 2015-07-20 at 9.14.34 AM (2)On July, 15, 2015, in a bipartisan vote of 312-119, the House of Representatives passed a five-month highway funding extension with the blessing of the White House. The strong bipartisan support of 180 Republicans and 132 Democrats who voted in favor of the bill sets the tone for imminent discussions regarding funding for a long-term highway bill.

Kentucky
Aye   R   Whitfield, Ed KY 1st
Aye   R   Guthrie, Brett KY 2nd
Aye   D   Yarmuth, John KY 3rd
No   R   Massie, Thomas KY 4th
Aye   R   Rogers, Hal KY 5th
Aye   R   Barr, Andy KY 6th

The bill would extend MAP-21 authorization and funding until December 18, 2015. The legislation also provides $6 billion for the Highway Account and $2 billion for the Mass Transit Account to keep the Highway Trust Fund solvent through the end of the year. The $8 billion General Fund Transfer would be offset by a variety of tax compliance provisions ($4.9B), and an extension of the aviation security fee increases through years FY’24 and FY’25 ($3.1B), once again opting to use 10-year revenues to pay for a five-month bill.

In the Senate, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is expected to make an announcement soon regarding the MAP-21 extension.  Sen. McConnell has been leaning towards an extension of two-years or longer to get beyond the 2016 presidential election. There have been a number of meetings with top Senators to discuss a path forward. Roughly $80 billion in payfors have been identified, enough to support a five year bill. However some of the revenue options are running into stiff Democratic opposition and it remains unclear whether the Senate can move a longer highway bill to the floor and pass it before the House adjourns for its annual August recess on July 30. If the upper body passed a longer term bill, the House and Senate would then begin deliberations on which approach to take.

Meanwhile, the Senate Commerce Committee acted on its title of a six-year, bipartisan MAP-21 reauthorization bill which encompasses highway safety and multi-modal freight, S. 1732, the “Comprehensive Transportation and Consumer Protection Act.” S. 1732 was approved by the Commerce Committee and will be added to the DRIVE Act reported out by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

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