Skip to content

McCarthy: House Won’t Take Up Senate Highway Bill Before Recess

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy had a message for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Monday: The House is not taking up the Senate highway bill before the August recess.  

While the Senate rushes to passage on its more than 1,000-page, six-year highway bill, McCarthy was emphatic that the House would not consider the legislation before hitting the exits on Thursday for a five-week break. “We’re not taking up the Senate bill,” McCarthy said.  

He asked how anyone could expect them to take up the Senate highway bill in such a short amount of time. “We’re set to depart on Thursday,” he said.  

McCarthy instead urged the Senate to take up the House’s five-month extension of the Highway Trust Fund. That bill, which passed the House weeks ago, did not include a reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank, which the Senate is expected to attach to the highway legislation. McCarthy didn’t seem to care that jamming the Senate would mean no extension for Ex-Im.  

The California Republican said the only commitment that Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, had made on the export-credit agency is that, if a reauthorization came over from the Senate, the House would consider it under an open amendment process.  

Ex-Im proponents  including almost all House and Senate Democrats and even some congressional Republicans  had figured that the Senate’s highway bill was the best avenue for extending the Export-Import Bank. Now it appears that an Ex-Im reauthorization might have to wait.  

McCarthy was less definitive on whether the House could pass a shorter-term extension for the highway bill, though he strongly endorsed the House bill extending the Highway Trust Fund until Dec. 18. McCarthy mentioned that a two- or three-month extension would cost roughly the same as the five-month, and he repeatedly urged the Senate to pass that bill. “I think that’s the best option before us today,” he said, calling it the “easiest, best way to move forward.”

See photos, follies, HOH Hits and Misses and more at Roll Call’s new video site.

Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.

Recent Stories

Five races to watch in Pennsylvania primaries on Tuesday

‘You talk too much’— Congressional Hits and Misses

Senators seek changes to spy program reauthorization bill

Editor’s Note: Congress and the coalition-curious

Photos of the week ending April 19, 2024

Rule for emergency aid bill adopted with Democratic support