Drama Finally Settled, the House Set to Pass a Highway Bill
by Joan McCarter –
Nothing motivates Congress like impending recess, particularly when that recess is five weeks long. So the House will vote Wednesday on that one thing they absolutely had to get done this week: yet another short-term funding bill for highway and surface transportation projects. This is after more than a week of drama in which Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House leadership have been racing to see who could jam up the other first. House Speaker John Boehner won.
The fight over highways has split Senate and House Republican leaders, with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) saying his chamber would not consider the six-year highway bill crafted by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.).But on Tuesday, Republicans in both chambers sought to get on the same page, arguing that they all backed a long-term highway bill. Republicans in both chambers said passing the three-month bill would buy time to reach a deal.
“I want a long-term highway bill that is fully paid for,” Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said following a House GOP conference meeting. “That has been the goal all year and that continues to be the goal. […]”
McConnell and other Senate Republicans said the House decision to move the three-month bill would pave the way for a conference.
“We’re pleased that they seem to agree with us that a multi-year highway bill is important,” said Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas). Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) told reporters the House wouldn’t have taken the step if the Senate hadn’t pushed to do a long-term bill.
That’s Senate leadership trying to save face, by the way, pretending that it was only because they were trying to do a long-term funding bill in a week’s time just before a critical deadline that the House came around to their way of think. That’s bunk, of course, but they have to keep pretending that what they’re doing is actual governing, and not lurching from crisis to crisis of their own making.
The House will vote Wednesday, then leave town. The Senate will probably bring the bill to the floor Thursday, leaving them free to leave when they want.
Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos