Week ahead: Ex-Im, highways, debt limit top agenda

House members have a busy week ahead, with expected votes on the Export-Import Bank and highway funding and little time left to raise the debt ceiling.

The vote on reauthorizing Ex-Im, whose congressional charter lapsed on June 30, comes after supporters of the bank used a rare procedural tactic, the discharge petition, to sidestep conservative opposition.

Supporters gathered enough votes for the petition earlier this month to force a vote. But the vote could be prove to be little more than symbolic if Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellKey GOP senators appear cool to Kavanaugh accuser's demand Trump hints at new executive action on immigration, wants filibuster-proof Senate majority The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by United Against Nuclear Iran — The Hill interviews President Trump MORE (R-Ky.) doesn’t bring a companion bill in the upper chamber.


McConnell opposes the bank but has said he would be open to a vote. He would prefer, though, that lawmakers move forward on Ex-Im by attaching it to another measure, like the federal highway funding bill.

The House is expected to move forward on a highway bill next week, with transportation spending set to expire Oct. 29.

The House Transportation Committee approved a $325 billion, six-year bill but it differs from the Senate’s six-year bill.

The maneuvering over the highway funding could be tricky; House leaders want to slash the interest rate banks receive off Fed dividends to pay for transportation spending.

The banking community, a bipartisan group of lawmakers and even Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen have criticized the proposal, saying it would be too risky to the U.S. banking sector.

With lawmakers facing a time crunch, they may have to resort to another stopgap extension of transportation funding.

Also on the agenda will be the debt limit, with Congress needing to act before a Nov. 3 deadline.

House GOP leaders scrapped plans on Friday to vote on a conservative proposal that would raise the debt ceiling and institute a number of reforms.

Republicans may have little option but to take up a so-called clean bill raising the ceiling. Many lawmakers expect outgoing Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerBlue wave poses governing risks for Dems Nancy Pelosi: Will she remain the ‘Face of the Franchise’? Jordan hits campaign trail amid bid for Speaker MORE (R-Ohio) to move on the debt limit in the coming week.

Hovering over all of the deadlines is the House leadership race, with a vote for BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerBlue wave poses governing risks for Dems Nancy Pelosi: Will she remain the ‘Face of the Franchise’? Jordan hits campaign trail amid bid for Speaker MORE’s successor set for Oct. 28.

The path has been cleared for Rep. Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanGOP super PAC drops .5 million on Nevada ad campaign Blue wave poses governing risks for Dems Dems seek to rebuild blue wall in Rust Belt contests MORE (R-Wis.), who will face a tough challenge uniting the party’s different factions heading into an election year.

Ryan, current chairman of the powerful Ways and Means Committee, had been adamant that he did not want what many perceive to be a politically toxic job, but he now feels confident that he has the votes — and the backing — of his own caucus to move forward.

Off Capitol Hill, Federal Reserve policymakers will make a public announcement on Wednesday about the state of the economy and whether or not they will begin to raise the interest rate, which has remained at zero percent since the 2008 economic collapse to spur growth.


Recent stories:

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— Heritage Foundation pans $325B House highway bill, via Keith Laing: http://bit.ly/1Mfj5Jw

— Pelosi: Debt-limit hike ‘non-negotiable,’ via Mike Lillis: http://bit.ly/1jZ7EZq

— GOP braces for ‘clean’ debt vote, via Vicki Needham and Cristina Marcos: http://bit.ly/1OMGCSo