House Passes Three-Month Highway Bill Extension
Despite previously passing a five-month extension on July 15, the House passed a 3-month extension which will be combined with some changes to the Veterans Administration health program. This bill also includes TRALA supported language on the liquefied natural gas (LNG) excise tax, which would tax LNG at the energy equivalent of a gallon of diesel fuel. This change to the LNG tax would become effective January 1, 2016.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has said that they will not take up anything passed by the Senate and instead the House will adjourn for their August recess on Thursday July 30, 2015. This has put the Senate into a scenario where they will have to pass one of the short-term extensions from the House by Friday or risk shutting down construction projects across the country. Senate Majority Leader McConnell (R-KY) has said he will accept the three-month extension that the House has passed, and he will still work on passing his six-year bill. Additionally, Majority Leader McConnell said he has had assurances from the House that they will work on a long-term extension which could lead to a conference with the Senate.
Despite all of these pledges to pass a long-term highway bill, the fundamental problems of funding remain. It will be even more difficult for the House to pass a long-term bill, or go to a conference with a majority of Republican votes, if issues such as the Export-Import Bank, which was added as an amendment into the six-year bill in the Senate, or other controversial issues are included in a final Senate bill.
TRALA will continue to monitor the status on Capitol Hill as both chambers move toward more serious deliberations after the August recess.
You may view a copy of the House-passed extension bill in its entirety by clicking here.