EPW Finishing Up Long-Term Highway Bill

Senate Environment and Public Works Committee leaders James Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) said they are finishing up work on a five or six-year highway bill, Politico reported.

EPW Chairman Inhofe said May 6 that the pair would begin working on a long-term highway bill in the next couple of weeks and were at a point where they could come up with a bill, a price tag and the timeframe that it would cover.

The announcement came just one day after Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) criticized congressional leaders for not having already put forth a funding fix for current highway law, which expires at the end of May.

Congress passed an $11 billion bailout of the Highway Trust Fund in July 2014 that also extended the current highway law until May 2015.

“This is kind of a joke that there’s not even a bill and we’re 26 days away,” McCaskill said during a Commerce subcommittee hearing.

Sen. McCaskill said it was clear that Congress would pass a short-term funding patch.

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said May 5 during a speech on the Senate floor that he would block a trade deal unless the Senate takes up long-term transportation legislation because trade authority legislation shouldn’t trump a highway bill.

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