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House Transportation Reauthorization to be Split in Three Parts
On February 14, 2012, Republican leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives indicated it would split the American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act (AEIJA) into three separate bills. One bill would contain the core transportation provisions (H.R. 7), one bill would contain the energy production provisions (H.R. 3408), and the final bill would include additional finance provisions (H.R. 3813). The last bill would require federal workers to contribute a larger share of their wages toward retirement and would use the offset to help pay for AEIJA. The three bills would need to be passed separately, recombined, and then sent to the Senate.
Also on February 14, the House Committee on Rules considered some 300 amendments to AEIJA. In an 8 to 4 vote, it decided to allow one hour of debate for each of the three bills, waive all points of order against considerations of the three bills, and restrict floor debate to 20 amendments for H.R. 3408 and three amendments for H.R. 3813.
Additionally on February 14, the White House threatened to veto the House transportation reauthorization package, citing concerns that it would "make America's roads, rails, and transit systems less safe, reduce the transportation options available to America's traveling public, short circuit local decision-making, and turn back the clock on environmental and labor protections".
In related news, on February 13, the Congressional Budget Office released a report estimating that the House bill would bankrupt the Highway Trust Fund. According to this analysis, AEIJA would lead to a $500 million deficit in the Highway Trust Fund by the end of FY2016, and that the new Alternative Transportation Account would be insolvent in FY2017. Together, the two accounts would face a $78 billion deficit by FY 2022.