House Approves Temporary Patch to Highway Trust Fund — Long Term Bill Still Being Crafted
The House has approved a short-term measure to extend federal transportation funding for three weeks in an effort to prevent a highway funding stoppage. This is the 35th short-term patch to the Highway Trust Fund since 2008.
The bill, H.R. 3819, would extend federal transportation spending, previously set to expire on Oct. 29, by just three weeks until Nov. 20.
Lawmakers in the House said the temporary patch will provide time for them to finish work on a six-year, $325 billion transportation funding bill that was recently approved by the chamber’s Transportation Committee.
“It doesn’t give us much time, but we need to get down to work,” House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) said, warning lawmakers they will have limited time to negotiate a long-term measure with the Senate in the next few weeks.
The Senate is expected to also pass the temporary measure to avert an interruption and clear the way for a conference committee on the broader infrastructure bill. “Because we still face this important conference, Congress will need one more extension to get us to the finish line,” Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman James Inhofe (R-Okla.) said.
The Department of Transportation has warned that it will have to stop making payments to states and local governments for infrastructure projects in November if Congress does not reach an agreement. Inhofe and other Senate leaders have said they expect to be able to get a multiyear highway bill to President Obama’s desk by Thanksgiving. “The finish line should be the 20th of November,” Inhofe said in a speech.
Congress has not passed a transportation funding bill lasting longer than two years since 2005.