House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) last week encouraged House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) to move forward with a long-term highway bill without financing from international tax reform.
The announcement was made after Rep. Ryan and Sen. Charles Schumer (D.-N.Y.) were unable to reach an agreement on a potential deal over road-funding levels. The current extension to the highway bill expires Oct. 29.
With an overhaul of business taxes off the table, Congressional leaders must find a new way to pay for a highway bill.
Rep. Ryan has long said that repatriation of corporate earnings held overseas would help fix the Highway Trust Fund provided it was part of overall corporate tax reform. In a statement issued Oct. 2, a spokesman said the level of transportation spending continues to be a significant issue.
Rep. Shuster said his committee will move quickly with the policy and authorization parts of the highway bill, which don’t include revenue raising. The Transportation Committee is expected to approve a multi-year highway bill in October.
Another short-term patch to the highway bill is likely, however. The Senate in July finalized the Developing a Reliable and Innovative Vision for the Economy (DRIVE) Act that would authorize highway spending for six-years. Once the House passes its companion legislation, Congress will need time to negotiate a final bill with the Senate.
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