McConnell paves the way for highway bill
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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTop GOP super PAC spent money on NC Democrat Everytown plans ad blitz on anniversary of House background check bill Kentucky state official says foreign adversaries 'routinely' scan election systems MORE (R-Ky.) paved the way on Tuesday evening for action on legislation to extend the Highway Trust Fund. 

The Republican leader moved to end debate on a motion to proceed to a House-passed bill that would allow businesses to exclude some veterans from ObamaCare's employer mandate, which senators will use as a shell for the highway legislation. 
 
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The move suggests that that the highway legislation could be next on McConnell's agenda after the Senate finishes its work on its rewrite of the Bush-era No Child Left Behind law. 
 
Senators have worked on a six-year, $275 billion transportation funding measure, though it's unclear how that would be paid for. 
 
McConnell said Tuesday that there's "bipartisan enthusiasm" for a multi-year bill. 
 
"We've had some conversations inside our conference about a way to pay for that, and I've also had conversations with prominent Democrats that were involved in this issue that we're hoping to be able to come together behind some way to get a multiyear highway bill," he added. "I'm fairly optimistic that we can do that."
 
His maneuver comes as Congress faces an end-of-month deadline to extend the Highway Trust Fund, after approving a two-month extension earlier this year. 
 
The Obama administration warned state transportation departments earlier this week that they will have to stop sending payments for construction projects on July 31 if lawmakers don't manage to pass legislation.