Senate Moves Forward on Bipartisan, Multi-Year Highway Bill
‘The hard work to pass a bipartisan, fiscally responsible, multi-year highway measure that doesn’t raise taxes or increase the deficit continues.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made the following remarks on the Senate floor today regarding the bipartisan highway bill:
“The hard work to pass a bipartisan, fiscally responsible, multi-year highway measure that doesn’t raise taxes or increase the deficit continues.
“It hasn’t been easy. We always knew obstacles would lay at every turn, and they have. But our country needs a multi-year highway bill, and we’ll get there if we continue to stick together.
“Perhaps the most challenging issue now relates to amendments.
“Supporters of the Ex-Im Bank are demanding a vote to reauthorize it, and they’ve made clear they’re ready to stop all other amendments if denied that opportunity.
“They’ve already proven they have the votes to back up the threat too.
“This presents a challenge for the Senate — and to opponents of the Ex-Im bank, like myself, in particular.
“But I believe we can still move forward, and I believe the more equitable and more balanced proposal I just offered will allow us to do so.
“Let me explain.
“It provides for votes on two long-sought, non-germane amendments.
“First, it allows a vote on an amendment to reauthorize the Ex-Im Bank — something nearly every Democrat wants.
“Second, it allows a vote on an amendment that would repeal Obamacare — something nearly every Republican wants, and something we will continue to fight for.
“Ex-Im shouldn’t be the only vote we take on this bill — and under the compromise I just filed, it won’t be.
“That’s a much fairer way forward.
“I urge my colleagues to join me in voting against Ex-Im, and I urge every Senator to take this important opportunity to join me in voting to finally give the American people the fresh start they deserve on health care.
“I know we’ll engage in a robust debate on these issues. We should. And then, we’ll take a vote.
“And while the clock demands that we file cloture — given that the Highway Trust Fund will expire at the end of next week — I hope we can still have a robust amendment process on this critical bill. So I encourage every one of my colleagues to work with the bill managers on their germane amendments.
“Senators should also note this:
“Yesterday I circulated bill language to both sides of the aisle that I intended to use to modify my amendment number 2266. That language contained technical and conforming edits, as well as the removal of a provision related to fugitive felons that was not needed to fully offset the bill.
“I wanted to let my colleagues know that the amendment I just offered contains an additional modification — it removes provisions that would have terminated the $1.7 billion Hardest Hit Fund mortgage program.
“Several Senators on both sides of aisle — especially Senator Portman, who's been a real champion on this issue — expressed their opposition to its termination. So we have reduced spending levels in the bill to accommodate this change while ensuring the bill remains fully paid-for for three years.”
Related Issues: Restoring the Senate, Back to Work, Highway Bill