House Republicans will not consider the Senate's bipartisan highway funding bill before it adjourns for the August recess, even if it passes with an overwhelming majority.
"No, no," Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy told the Washington Examiner when asked whether the House would consider the Senate legislation. "I don't see the Senate bill flying in the House."
The House is expected to adjourn for the August recess on July 31, which is also the day current authorization for federal funding of highway projects will expire.
McCarthy said he wants the Senate to instead take up a House-passed measure that extends highway authorization funding until December 18.
"We passed ours," McCarthy said.
The Senate remains in session until the end of the first week of August, but with the House out of session, that will leave the upper chamber with the choice of either passing the House short-term bill, or letting funding authorization expire, which would bring road construction projects to a halt.
"They'll have to extend it," McCarthy said.
The Senate today is expected to make a second attempt at advancing a six-year highway funding authorization bill that appears to be gaining support among both Republicans and Democrats in the upper chamber.
The deal was co-authored by GOP leaders and Sen. Barbara Boxer, the top Democrat on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.
It funds only three years of the authorization, much of it through enhanced tax enforcement.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and other Republicans said he is hoping the House will find the Senate bill appealing enough to take up, in part because it finally provides long-term authorization after a decade of Congress passing only short-term patches, which increase construction costs.
The matter has been complicated by McConnell's decision to allow the highway funding measure to include an amendment to revive the expired Export-Import Bank, which many House conservatives staunchly oppose.
If the Senate measure highway bill comes to the House will the Ex-Im Bank provision attached it will likely make the bill even less attractive to GOP Republican leaders.
"What I really prefer is that Ex-Im not be attached," Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, told the Examiner.