House Leaves Town, Senate Accepts Short Highway Bill

Written by SK Ashby

The House of Representatives will recess for the Summer today, leaving the Senate with no choice but to pass the 3-month extension of highway funding which has already cleared the House.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said yesterday evening the Senate will vote on the House bill, ending a months-long battle to avoid the inevitable.

"The House is going to send over to us a highway extension to October 29, which will also include some important veterans funds to deal with a shortfall in the veterans health care system," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Tuesday. [...]

"The House, as you may have heard, has decided to process, in early September, a multiyear highway bill of their own and that will lead to a conference between the Senate and House multiyear highway bills and hopefully a conference report," McConnell said.

The Senate may have finally agreed to avert a partial shutdown which would have begun at midnight on Friday when current highway funding expires, but they still intend to pass their version of a long-term funding bill tomorrow.

McConnell and his colleagues, such as James Inhofe, make it sound as if the House and Senate are not very far apart from each other on ways to fund the nation's infrastructure, but that is not the case. House conservatives have categorically rejected large portions of the Senate bill.

House Republicans leadership is still keen on the idea of using a disastrous, voluntary corporate tax to fund a long-term bill, while more conservative members of the caucus agree with Grover Norquist's assessment that a voluntary tax is a tax increase. That view is also shared by some Senate Republicans.

If you're sick of hearing about this subject, the good news is we may not discuss it again until September unless something truly embarrassing happens between now and then. That's a possibility. Something embarrassing could happen between now and the Friday deadline.