Senate passes multiyear highway funding bill 65-34

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The Senate on Thursday approved a bipartisan multiyear highway funding measure, taking the lead over the House of Representatives in the race to pass legislation to enable road and bridge projects for the long term.

But the bill won't go far, at least for now, because the House has already adjourned for the summer. The Senate will also pass a short-term funding measure sent from the House, which will pay for highway projects until Oct. 29.

The Senate's multi-year bill would authorize transportation funding for six years and pay for the first three years by stepping up tax code enforcement and selling off a significant portion of the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve. It also includes a provision that would revive the expired Export-Import Bank, which had to stop taking on new projects after June 30 when its authorization expired.

The Senate passed the longer-term bill 65-34, but the vote happened too late for consideration in the House, which adjourned Wednesday for a five-week recess. House lawmakers were eager to leave town in order to escape having to consider the Senate bill.