Short-Term Highway Bill Approved; Long-Term Bill Includes ABA-Opposed Measures

President Obama today signed a three-month extension to the Highway Trust Fund that the  Senate had passed yesterday and the House had passed the day before, providing both houses of Congress with more time to resolve differences about how to fund a longer-term roads bill. The Senate also passed by a 65-34 vote a bill that would fund the Highway Trust Fund through fiscal year 2021, but the House recessed before considering it.

ABA strongly opposes two revenue-raising provisions in the Senate bill. One would substantially cut the dividends paid on Federal Reserve Bank stock to Fed member banks with over $1 billion in assets, and another would extend the increase in the guarantee fees charged by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Both of these measures are contrary to sound public policy, ABA has said, and are inappropriate for inclusion in a bill entirely unrelated to banking.

Bankers are encouraged to contact their lawmakers during the August recess to express opposition to these provisions appearing in the long-term bill this fall. Fifteen of the 22 members of the Senate Banking Committee voted against the long-term highway bill; among committee members, only Sens. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Dean Heller (R-Nev.), Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and David Vitter (R-La.) voted for it.