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Congressional Republicans Agree to Three-Month Transportation Funding Patch

Overcoming their differences, Republican leaders in both chambers agreed Wednesday to a three-month patch bill to continue transportation spending through Oct. 29. The bill must pass by Friday due to lack of funds in the Highway Trust Fund.
July 29, 2015, 10am PDT | Irvin Dawid
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"Republican leaders in Congress agreed Tuesday on a temporary fix for keeping the federal highway program funded for three months beyond its expiration Friday, postponing until the fall a bigger struggle over how to pay for infrastructure in the longer term," reported Siobhan Hughes and Kristina Peterson for The Wall Street Journal at 5:47 p.m.

Support from both House and Senate leaders for the three-month patch signaled a brief détente in the weekslong impasse over how to shore up the Highway Trust Fund. Highway programs expire this Friday and are running out of money, so both chambers are expected to pass the three-month bill this week. 

The House passed Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-Wis.) five-month, $8.1 billion patch bill, H.R. 3038 on July 15, but the Senate opted for a different path, pursuing the six-year DRIVE Act by securing funding for the three years. On Sunday, the Senate debated two unrelated amendments, the Export-Import Bank and the Affordable Care Act. The former passed with bipartisan approval.

The three-month bill will not include an amendment extending the Export-Import Bank which has turned into a controversial side issue of passing a highway bill.

A Washington Post PowerPost stated that the short term bill "highlights the continuing inability of Congress to agree on a long-term plan for covering the cost of budget shortfalls in a program that provides the funding for bridge and road projects across the country."

Toward that end, Hughes and Peterson write that "GOP leaders in both chambers said Tuesday that they hoped the three-month patch would give the House enough time to produce its own long-term bill. They would then seek to resolve differences between that measure and the Senate’s six-year bill in the fall."
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Published on Tuesday, July 28, 2015 in Wall Street Journal
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