Heritage Action to key-vote GOP transportation, housing bill

The conservative Heritage Action group said Monday that it plans to key-vote a $55 billion Republican funding bill for the departments of Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development. 

The measure, which is known as THUD, provides $55.3 billion in funding the departments of Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development, which is a $1.5 billion increase over the agencies' current 2015 spending levels. 

The bill provides $9.7 billion less than President Obama’s request for the Transportation and Housing agencies, but Heritage Action said Monday that it still includes too much spending on infrastructure projects. 

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“The bill assumes a highway authorization extension with funding for fiscal year (FY) 2016 at current levels, or about $51 billion in contract authority (the ability of the government to contract for work to be done)," the group wrote in a blog post

"Therefore, the bill provides $41.6 billion for spending from the Highway Trust Fund on highway projects and $8.6 billion for spending on transit formula grants," the blog post continued. "However, the Congressional Budget Office projects revenues flowing into the Highway Trust Fund to be roughly $40 billion in 2016—not enough to cover the spending authorized in the bill.”

The House is expected to vote on the transportation and housing measure on Tuesday.  

The White House has issued a veto threat for the measure, and Congressional Democrats have attacked Republicans for attaching a number of nonbudgetary issues to the bill, such as placing restrictions on the Obama administration’s efforts to begin normalizing the nation’s relations with Cuba. 

Truck safety groups in particular have accused GOP lawmakers of using the appropriations process to undo a series of trucking regulations they say makes U.S. roads safer, including limits on the length and weight of trucks. Trucking companies have opposed these limits for years.