If both chambers don’t agree, states could have problems paying for current and planned construction projects. Think of this as a fiscal cliff for transportation work. It comes when lackluster federal funding on infrastructure is already costing Texans billions each year in increased fuel prices, car maintenance and lost time.
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July 30, 2014
Congress plans to take five weeks off starting Friday, but a last-minute showdown is brewing between the U.S. House and Senate over transportation funding. The House passed a short-term bill that would fund the Highway Trust Fund earlier this month.
The Senate was expected to essentially sign off. Instead, Senators yesterday overwhelmingly cut a controversial funding portion of the bill (leaving a $2 billion shortfall) that would keep the fund solvent only through December and not May, like the House wants. Both options only serve to buy Congress a little time — after November’s mid-terms — to come up with a long-term solution.
CNN’s Lisa Desjardins has a good account of what went down yesterday. She reports:
Senators then sent the changed bill back to the House, setting up a likely ping pong volley between the two chambers. Earlier Tuesday Speaker John Boehner, Republican of Ohio, drew a hard line.
“I just want to make this clear,” Boehner said, “if the Senate sends a highway bill over here with (the Wyden-Hatch version), we’re going to strip it out and put the House-passed provisions back in and send it back to the Senate.”…