McConnell tees up two-month patch for highway funding

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump blasts McCain, bemoans not getting 'thank you' for funeral GOP senator: Trump's criticism of McCain 'deplorable' McConnell calls McCain a 'rare patriot' and 'American hero' after Trump criticism MORE (R-Ky.) has started procedures to expedite a short-term extension of federal transportation funding that is scheduled to expire on May 31.

The Republican leader set in motion a two-month extension rolled out earlier Thursday by Democratic Sens. Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperBiden's challenge: Satisfying the left Dems introduce bill requiring disclosure of guest logs from White House, Trump properties Lobbying world MORE (Del.) and Barbara BoxerBarbara Levy BoxerHispanic civil rights icon endorses Harris for president California AG Becerra included in Bloomberg 50 list Climate debate comes full circle MORE (Calif.) that would buy lawmakers more time to work to find a way to pay for a long-term infrastructure bill.

The details of the bill were not immediately clear, since the Senate clerk described the measure only as “a bill to provide a short-term extension of federal highway aid.”

Carper's office and Senate Republicans confirmed Friday morning that the Republican leader had teed up the Democrats' bill.

McConnell's procedural move, referred to as Rule 14, would fast-track the legislation by letting it skip going through committee and instead be taken up by the full Senate next week, ahead of the end-of-the-month deadline.

While the Department of Transportation has said it has enough money to
 cover transportation projects until the end of the summer, the agency's legal authority to launch new spending will expire this month, unless Congress passes legislation.
 Carper and Boxer contend that their two-month extension would help keep pressure on Congress to come up with a long-term solution.

“It’s clear to me that yet another long extension that patches the trust fund with an assortment of budget gimmicks only guarantees that we’ll push this issue right to the back burner, as we’ve done over and over again,” Carper said in a statement.

“Aligning the expiration of transportation programs with the funding available in the Highway Trust Fund rightly keeps Congress’s focus on finding a responsible
long-term solution this summer for this critical program.”