GOP leaders will now seek to put together a short-lived transportation bill although House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John Mica (R-Fla.) would like to see his bill go as long as six years. Last week, House leaders indefinitely postponed the bill during the Rules Committee process, after members had proposed hundreds of amendments.
The House is also weighing a reduction in the bill’s funding levels, something that may appease fiscal conservatives. Criticism is the existing $260 billion, five-year version wouldn’t cut enough from current spending and would diverge from the “user-pays” model that many on the right prefer. A short-term, lower cost bill could ease paying for the legislation. The payroll tax cut deal took the federal pension cuts made by Republicans slated to pay for the House bill, leaving a hole in the legislation’s financing maneuver. The White House has also threatened to veto the House proposal expressing support for a competing $109 billion, two-year transportation bill in the Senate.