Durbin to Boehner: Pass highway bill before you hit the road

Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin said Thursday that Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) should bring a long-term highway bill up for a vote before he leaves office. 

The Illinois Democrat noted the Senate has already passed a measure that contains three years’ worth of guaranteed infrastructure funding. 

Boehner has announced that he is resigning his Speakership at the end of October. 

{mosads}“While the House of Representatives sits on a long-term transportation bill passed by the Senate this summer, states and businesses lack the certainty and resources to move forward on critical infrastructure projects that will make us more competitive in the global economy and create thousands of jobs in the process,” Durbin said in a statement. 

“American workers cannot wait,” he continued. “American businesses cannot wait. It is time for the House to follow the Senate’s lead and act.”

Durbin and other Senate Democrats have sought to put pressure on House Republicans to pass a six-year highway bill after they rejected the Senate’s bill during the summer because it only contained six years’ worth of transportation commitments, but only three years’ worth of funding. 

The House instead passed a three-month highway bill that is set to expire on Oct. 29, which the Senate was forced to accept to prevent an interruption in federal transportation spending. 

Boehner has made clear that he wants to “clear the decks” for his successor as Speaker, who is widely presumed to be Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.). 

McCarthy, meanwhile, has vowed to pass a long-term highway bill early in his tenure as Speaker if Boehner does not. 

“We’re going to make sure we get the highway bill done,” said McCarthy on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Tuesday, when asked how he would differ from the departing Boehner.

Durbin’s office said Thursday it is time for the House to end a long streak of temporary transportation funding measures that has lasted a decade. 

“Since the previous long-term transportation bill expired in 2009, Congress has passed 34 stop-gap measures to keep the country’s major transportation and infrastructure programs from shutting down.” 

Tags Dick Durbin Highway bill Highway Trust Fund John Boehner Kevin McCarthy MAP-21 Reauthorization

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