House GOP rolls out highway offsets

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House Republicans on Monday rolled out a roughly $8 billion plan to finance highway projects through the end of 2015, as Congress scrambles to beat a July 31 deadline for infrastructure funding. 

Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Transportation Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) said the proposal would buy lawmakers time to craft a package that would fund highway projects for as long as six years. 

{mosads}”This country needs a long-term plan to fix our roads, bridges, and other infrastructure, and this bill gives us our best shot at completing one this year,” Ryan and Shuster said.

To fund road projects through Dec. 18, the House bill relies on $3 billion worth of savings from Transportation Security Administration fees, and $5 billion in tax compliance measures. 

Ryan and some top Democrats, like Sen. Chuck Schumer (N.Y.), want to use the rest of the year to craft a revamp of the U.S.’s international tax structure, which would include revenues to pay for a long-term highway deal.

The House could vote on the short-term extension as soon as this week. as Republicans in the chamber try to beat their Senate GOP colleagues to the punch. 

Senate Republicans want a longer patch of the Highway Trust Fund, running at least through the 2016 elections, and the House GOP is concerned that the Senate will also tack an extension of the expired Export-Import Bank to an infrastructure package. A Senate GOP aide said Republicans would discuss a list of potential offsets at their Tuesday lunch.

Ryan told reporters last week that the House offsets for a short-term highway bill would be “innocuous.” The tax compliance measures seek to reduce inaccurate reporting on mortgages, crack down on taxpayers who undersell the price of property they’ve unloaded, and toughen up estate tax guidelines.

Tags Chuck Schumer Paul Ryan

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