This week, the Senate easily passed a patch to the soon to be broke Highway Trust Fund. The Senate’s actions, however, don’t end the Highway Drama because the chamber made two critical changes to the legislation passed by the House.
First, by a vote of 71 to 26, the Senate voted for the Wyden-Hatch amendment that substitutes the pay-fors, swapping some of the money raised through pension smoothing for tax compliance instead. Second, and probably most problematic, the Senate voted 66 to 31 to adopt the Carper-Corker-Boxer amendment to only patch the Trust Fund up until December. This would set up another bite at the apple for proponents of a long-term fix in a potential lame duck session after the mid-term elections.
Two other amendments - a devolution proposal from Sen. Mike Lee and one from Sen. Pat Toomey on repairing disaster-damaged infrastructure - were defeated.
The action now moves back to the House where MHGS has learned that the House plans on sending their version back to the Senate and then adjourning for the August recess. MHGS has also learned that Senate leadership in both parties actually prefers the House passed version and after the House sends it back to the upper chamber the Senate will vote to agree to it.
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Please feel to reach out to McDonald Hopkins Government Strategies for more information regarding the budget deal and how it may impact you and what you can do about it.
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