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Speaker Boehner: Highway Bill is 'Doable'

On a Sunday talk show, Speaker John Boehner called a long-term highway bill "in the realm of doable," though he didn't give a time frame other than "in the last two years" of President Obama's term. The current short term funding expires May 31.
September 30, 2014, 6am PDT | Irvin Dawid
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"The short-term measure will set up a dramatic fight next year over how to best fund highway and bridge repairs down the line," writes Justin Sink of The Hill.

“I think the conversation's pretty straightforward,” Boehner told ABC News’s “This Week.” “Mr. president [sic], you've got two years left. Want to have two years like we've had the last four years where we just butt heads and butt heads and butt heads?”

No word on the funding mechanism the Republican speaker from Ohio suggested. Three years ago we noted that "Speaker Boehner propos(ed) a bill to fill the [Highway Trust Fund] shortfall from projected federal gas tax revenues with the royalties expected from new oil and gas drilling."

Sink suggests that rather than an increase in the gas tax, unchanged for over two decades, business tax reform that has nothing to do with transportation user fees may be the funding mechanism

Both the president and Republicans have also signaled a willingness to reform the corporate tax code, although wide gulfs exist between proposals to best do so.

To complicate matters, Sinks writes that "Republicans have said any plan needs to be revenue neutral and think [sic] any additional tax dollars collected under the plan should be applied to lowering tax rates overall," i.e. even if the gas tax was raised, other taxes would have to be lowered (or 'offset') by a commensurate amount.

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Published on Sunday, September 28, 2014 in The Hill
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