Congress has until Friday to pass a federal transportation funding bill before the existing law’s authorization expires and the House adjourns for a planned August recess.
In a rare Sunday session, the Senate debated the $337 billion, six-year proposal to fund the Highway Trust Fund.
Debate became heated during the weekend session as the Senate killed a proposed, unrelated amendment to abolish Obamacare and decided to attach another one that would resurrect the defunded Export-Import Bank.
The House and the Senate each have indicated they want to pass a more permanent solution to funding the Highway Trust Fund, which relies on revenue from the national gas tax, which is inadequate to cover the nation’s highway and bridge construction.
But the two houses of Congress favor different approaches to solving the chronic lack of funding. House members have approved a stopgap measure to seed the highway fund through December. In the meantime, legislators will craft a more permanent solution.
But the Senate is pushing to authorize the fund for six years and fund it by pulling money from a variety of federal sources. Senators, however, have provided for only three years of funding for their six-year plan.
If the Senate fails to pass a bill before the House adjourns for its recess, it will be forced to pass the five-month extension.