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house Bill H.R. 3236

Stopgap: Giving Congress Until October 2015 to Agree on a Highway Funding Plan

Argument in favor

It's unrealistic to expect a long-term solution for transportation funding to materialize in two days before the most recent extension expires. This bill would give Congress a chance to get a permanent fix done in October. Allowing veterans to access subsidized healthcare outside the VA will give them more efficient access to health care.

John's Opinion
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08/10/2015
It would be better to have a reasonable and workable plan than to have a quick plan.
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Heyitsmo's Opinion
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08/03/2015
The short sighted management of funds is not the fault of those who will lose income as a result of a shut down. Improve management of funds going forward.
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nan's Opinion
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08/04/2015
Congress, get off your behinds and get a realistic bill passed now.
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Argument opposed

There’s been far too much kicking the can down the road in Congress recently. There is a bipartisan consensus that something longer-term must be done for transportation funding: put a long-term fix up for a vote, and deal with veterans healthcare separately!

John's Opinion
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07/29/2015
Do your high paying jobs and if that means working 16 hour days, THEN THAT IS WHAT YOU NEED TO DO! Maybe if you did more of the People's business and less lobbyist butt kissing, time would not be an issue. ALSO - WE ARE 18 TRILLION IN DEBT SO DO NOT INCREASE TAXES TO FUND THIS. CUT OTHER PROGRAMS IF MORE FUNDING IS NEEDED! CUT SPENDING NOW!!
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gailnabity's Opinion
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07/30/2015
Get on with doing your jobs and pass necessary infrastructure legislation.
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cbob's Opinion
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08/26/2015
We are continually repairing our highways with funding which never seems to reach it's destination. Let the roads crumble until a Republican becomes POTUS, however long it takes. Then do something about it.
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What is House Bill H.R. 3236?

This bill would fund highway and transportation projects through the Highway Trust Fund until October 29, 2015 and also expand a program allowing veterans to receive subsidized health care outside of the Dept. of Veterans Affairs (VA). The program’s spending authority is currently set to expire on July 31, 2015. The bill’s sponsors hope that a three-month extension will give members of Congress enough time to reach a long-term agreement on highway and transportation funding.


It is notable that this bill actually reduces the deficit between 2015 and 2025 by using a combination of
spending reductions and provisions that would improve tax compliance. These offsets were included in a proposal that would’ve extended the Highway Trust Fund through December 2015. Among those offset provisions would be:

  • A requirement that lenders report additional information so that borrowers don’t understate their tax burden. Lawmakers estimate that this will provide an estimated $1.8 billion in offsets.

  • Giving the IRS a six-year window to review returns that were substantially understated. Estimated offsets? $1.2 billion.

  • Requiring estates subject to the estate tax to report the value of property upon the owner’s death — yielding an estimated $1.5 billion in offsets.

  • Tax filing deadline changes for partnerships, S corporations, and C corporations with offsets estimates at $314 million.

  • Extending a rule that allows employers to transfer excess defined-benefit plan assets to retiree medical accounts and group-term life insurance — yielding $172 million in offsets.

  • Equalizing taxes on liquefied natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas, and compressed natural gas from different levels would provide $90 million in tax relief (not offsets).

  • The current budget treatment of Transportation Security Administration (TSA) fees would be extended for two additional years, leading to $3.1 billion in offsets.

The VA would be required to develop a plan to consolidate all seven of its programs that allow veterans to receive healthcare outside of the VA into one program to be known as the “Veterans Choice Program.” This plan must be delivered to Congress before November 1, 2015 and will be the initial proposal for the Veterans Choice Program. This bill affords the VA more flexibility in using the over $3.3 billion dollars from the Veterans Choice Fund to subsidize care for veterans outside of the VA, and also expands eligibility for existing programs that would be consolidated.


It also includes provisions of the Hire More Heroes Act, allowing veterans who are enrolled in government healthcare through TRICARE or the VA to be exempt from the employer mandate — which requires businesses to offer health insurance if they have more than 50 full-time employees. Eligible veterans would be eligible to make pre-tax contributions to Health Savings Accounts if they receive care from the VA if they are receiving treatment for a service-connected disability.

Impact

Anyone who uses roads and highways, businesses and agencies that repair and manage roads, the Dept. of Transportation, and the HTF administrators.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 3236

$0.00
The CBO estimates that implementing this bill would authorize $12 billion in contract authority through the end of October, and limit discretionary spending to $4 billion over the 2016-2025 period. On balance, this bill would decrease deficits by $6.9 billion over the 2015-2025 period.

More Information

In-Depth: Upon introducing this bill, Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA) — the Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee — cited the need for a longer-term fix and his hope that this legislation would provide Congress the necessary time to reach such a solution:
“My goal remains the completion of a long-term bill to improve our Nation’s roads, bridges, and other infrastructure as soon as possible, and the House continues to make progress on that bill. THe Senate’s work on their transportation bill is a positive step, but the House also needs to make its voice heard and put forth its own priorities for such a significant piece of legislation.”

A previous extension for the Highway Trust Fund was introduced on May 14, 2015 and provided for funding until the end of July. It was signed into law on May 28, and various longer-term proposals were being discussed that the time — which ranged from providing additional funding sources for the HTF for a six-year fix to letting the HTF expire.

More recently, the House has considered an extension through December, while the Senate extensively debated a six-year extension. However, the House has expressed a strong preference to have its own long-term proposal in the fall, and the Senate looks poised to consider a short-term fix.

AKA

Surface Transportation and Veterans Health Care Choice Improvement Act of 2015

Official Title

To provide an extension of Federal-aid highway, highway safety, motor carrier safety, transit, and other programs funded out of the Highway Trust Fund, to provide resource flexibility to the Department of Veterans Affairs for health care services, and for other purposes.

bill Progress


  • EnactedJuly 31st, 2015
    The President signed this bill into law
  • The senate Passed July 30th, 2015
    Roll Call Vote 91 Yea / 4 Nay
  • The house Passed July 29th, 2015
    Roll Call Vote 385 Yea / 34 Nay
      house Committees
      Transportation and Maritime Security
      Committee on Education and Labor
      Committee on the Budget
      Committee on Energy and Commerce
      Committee on Homeland Security
      Committee on Natural Resources
      Committee on Science, Space, and Technology
      Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
      Committee on Ways and Means
      Health
      Committee on Veterans' Affairs
    IntroducedJuly 28th, 2015

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    Do your high paying jobs and if that means working 16 hour days, THEN THAT IS WHAT YOU NEED TO DO! Maybe if you did more of the People's business and less lobbyist butt kissing, time would not be an issue. ALSO - WE ARE 18 TRILLION IN DEBT SO DO NOT INCREASE TAXES TO FUND THIS. CUT OTHER PROGRAMS IF MORE FUNDING IS NEEDED! CUT SPENDING NOW!!
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    Get on with doing your jobs and pass necessary infrastructure legislation.
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    We are continually repairing our highways with funding which never seems to reach it's destination. Let the roads crumble until a Republican becomes POTUS, however long it takes. Then do something about it.
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    The highway fund is insolvent because of the miss use of funds it needs to stop
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    It would be better to have a reasonable and workable plan than to have a quick plan.
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    The short sighted management of funds is not the fault of those who will lose income as a result of a shut down. Improve management of funds going forward.
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    Get it done. What is everyone waiting for?
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    Cut out all the add ons and make a decision.
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    Because we need more highways for better transportation
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    Congress, get off your behinds and get a realistic bill passed now.
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    absolutely.
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    Completely separate issues. The two should not be subject to bartering. That's the old way of doing political business.
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    One of the most awful things about being an American in this era is that Congress has no sense of responsibility toward the citizens it represents. Funding highways is the key to our prosperity, it is a jobs bill, it is a business bill. Heaven knows conservatives HATE everything that helps Americans but, for once, fund this without tacking on another agenda. The country, which you obviously dislike, needs it NOW!!!
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    Last minute bills kicking the can down the line remove responsibility from congress in actually passing long-term legislation. Our infrastructure is rapidly failing, with bridges, tunnels can and roads around the country at major risk of crumbling and collapse. We cannot keep delaying action - the congress is elected to make difficult decisions, and continuing to delay months and years without an answer is dereliction of the duty to which members of congress were elected. Vote now, or bear responsibility for the inevitable and dangerous results of inaction.
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    Is Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren the only two people that actually do the god damn job we hired them for?
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    Mostly yes
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    No more extensions. Make them do their jobs in the allotted amount of time, or fine them for not.
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    Stop not making decisions !! You look like the elected clown car.
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    Im against any delaying of legislating esp. during an election year
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    Make the corporations pay every red cent they're the reason the roads are in the shape their in. I don't think my 2000 pound car does the same damage a 80000 pound truck does! Put the tax burden in the right place
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