Two-Month HTF Extension Goes Before House Tomorrow

May 18, 2015

The House Rules Committee is scheduled to meet at 5 p.m. today on H.R. 2353, a two-month, $8.4 billion extension of Highway Trust Fund spending authority. The Majority Leader has announced that the legislation will be on the House floor tomorrow.

There had been hopes that, if Congressional negotiators could get agreement on a package of offsets over the weekend, that the Rules Committee might amend H.R. 2353 to extend funding past July 31, but that now appears unlikely, and the version of the bill to go before the House tomorrow will almost certainly not deviate substantially from the version introduced last Friday.

There only major difference between the House’s two-month extension and the Senate version introduced earlier by Senators Carper and Boxer as S. 1350 is that the Senate bill contains a long “sense of the Congress” provision suggesting that House and Senate committees should produce a long-term reauthorization bill as soon as possible, and that the tax committees “should develop and, as soon as practicable, report out legislation providing sufficient revenue to offset the cost of such a long-term authorization.” H.R. 2353 contains no similar sense of Congress language.

The Rules Committee is expected to bring H.R. 2353 to the floor under a closed rule, meaning no amendments may be offered except for one to-be-named-later amendment by the minority party in the form of a motion to recommit the bill with instructions. Such amendment must comply with House rules and budget rules, which means that the amendments cannot significantly broaden the policy or financial scope of the bill.

Timing of Senate action is uncertain, since the chamber is still occupied with the fast-track trade bill. Both the HTF extension and any PATRIOT Act extension (both measures have May 31 deadlines) will likely have to be handled by unanimous consent due to the shortness of time before the Memorial Day recess.

Text of H.R. 2353 as introduced is here. Text of S. 1350 is here.

This table shows the amount of Highway Trust Fund contract authority created by the first FY 2015 extension (Public Law 113-159), the pending extension, the total under both extensions, and the annualized total FY 2015 rates.

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