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Highway Bill Debate May Start on Monday in Senate

On Monday, the Senate will hold several nomination votes and then may start the general debate and amendment debate on H.R. 5021, the Highway Trust Fund bill passed by the House. The intent is for the Senate to bring the House passed bill to floor with the possibly of four amendments offered at that time, including the Wyden Hatch amendment that includes the fix to the LNG tax penalty. However, there is the distinct possibility that the Majority Leader may take up several other items besides the Highway Bill on Monday, including a vote on the confirmation of the new Secretary of Veterans Affairs and the Mexican border supplemental appropriations bill. This leads to the question of how early in the week the Senate will start consideration of the Highway Trust Fund bill. Unfortunately, the longer the wait before the bill comes to the floor, the higher the probability that the Senate will not amend the House passed bill. The simplest option is for the Senate to just pass the House passed bill and send it straight to the President for his signature. Amending the bill necessitates sending the bill back to the House for more consideration, complicating matters and possibly delaying the August recess and in the worst case a halt on payments to state DOTs. Stay tuned.