Clock Is Ticking For Congress To Hash Out Reconciled Highway Bill
A highway-funding shutdown could be on the horizon if lawmakers fail to hash out a reconciled bill before current federal transit spending runs out Nov. 20.
While both versions bear a strong resemblance to one another, as they both provide about three years of funding for the six-year bill, there are still some differences that need to be addressed — including what role the Federal Reserve will play to help pay for the legislation.
The House version does away with a provision in the upper chamber’s bill that would raise close to $16 billion by lowering the amount large banks receive in dividends from the Fed, instead calling for the central bank to transfer its surplus funds into a Department of Treasury account.
Other discrepancies include the Senate version upping damage payments for rail victims to $295 million, and its call for more funding for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration than the House version.
Lawmakers have been optimistic they will be able to come to a compromise before the upcoming deadline.
“Both the Senate and the House bills have many similarities that will allow for a very short conference period,” said Oklahoma Republican Sen. Jim Inhofe in a statement shortly before the House passed its legislation.
Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx wrote a letter House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Bill Shuster Friday asking members to increase funding closer to the Obama administration’s $478 billion proposal.
The House plans to vote Monday on a short-term measure that would provide Congress two more weeks to negotiate the details.
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