After the House rejected the Senate's amendments to their Highway Trust Fund extension bill, the Senate passed the bill 81-13 on July 31. Payments to states will continue unchanged through May 2015 when the next hurdle awaits
Three days before Congress goes on recess and with the Highway Trust Fund approaching insolvency, the Senate passed a transportation bill notably different than the House version passed July 15, setting up a showdown between the two branches.
The Senate will hear four amendments to the House bill, passed July 15, in the last week of July. Sens. Boxer, Carper, and Corker want the funding extension to terminate on December 19 rather than May 31. On August 1, DOT reduces payments to states.
By a vote of 367-55, the House passed Rep. Dave Camp's "pension smoothing" bill to provide ten months of funding for the deficit-plagued Highway Trust Fund through May. A long-term (five- or six-year) funding plan will be attempted then.
Patch bills advanced in the Senate and the House on Thursday that would keep the Highway Trust Fund solvent through May 2015—good news for state DOTs that will see reduced federal reimbursements on August 1 unless a funding bill is passed soon.
A $10.7 billion funding plan to continue federal transportation spending at the current rate through May 2015 has been offered by Republicans in the House Ways and Means Committee. The General Funds transfer would be offset by "pension smoothing."
After it's first hearing, the PATH Act is not looking very promising to keep federal transportation reimbursements flowing to state DOTs late next month when the Highway Trust Fund is expected to approach insolvency. The one user fee was dropped.
A $9 billion patch bill was drafted by Sen. Finance Comm. Chair Ron Wyden to continue transportation spending to Dec. 31. Most of the funds come from a change in how Individual Retirement Accounts are administered and a heavy truck use tax increase.