So after all the noise in the Senate, the Sunday session, Ted Cruz getting on the Senate floor to call Mitch McConnell a liar, an agreement for six years' funding of the Highway Trust Fund and renewal of the Export-Import Bank...the House won't even consider the bill as majority leader Kevin McCarthy says Mitch better pass the GOP House version or highway projects across the country run out of money by the end of the week.
McCarthy’s decision leaves Congress with two possible paths forward.
The House could simply do nothing, leave town and hope that will force the Senate to swallow the five-month highway bill it passed two weeks ago. That measure does not include any Ex-Im language.
Another, less confrontational option would be to go smaller and send the Senate a two- or three-month highway patch, punting the issues of highway spending and Ex-Im until after Labor Day, when Congress returns from its summer recess.
Senate and House Republicans are on different planets when it comes to the highway bill.
Besides the fight over the Export-Import Bank, House Republicans prefer a shorter-term bill to buy time for negotiations with the White House on tax reform, which Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) believes could be used to pay for a full six years of highway funding.
The Senate bill, crafted by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), covers six years but only pays for three years of funding.
McConnell prefers the Senate bill because it would prevent a series of votes on stopgap measures this fall, and possibly in 2016, when the GOP leader wants to focus on helping his conference retain its Senate majority.
A majority of Senate Republicans have backed McConnell, and Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) reacted to McCarthy’s comments by stating on the Senate floor that he is “very concerned about what the House is doing right now.”
McCarthy said the House would stick to its schedule and head home on Thursday.
Imagine that. House Republican are going to wreck a must pass bill because they can. Oh, and they'll blame Obama when they choose not to even vote on the Senate bill that was worked out very publicly over the last two weeks.
The only suckers here are the American people who thought that Republicans gave a damn about things like "roads" and "governance".