Congress shores up federal highway aid, veterans’ health care

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The House voted Wednesday to shore up federal aid for highway and transit programs and fill a budget hole in veterans’ health care:

HIGHWAY-TRANSIT EXTENSION

The House voted to extend spending authority for the Department of Transportation through Oct. 29, and replenish the federal Highway Trust Fund with $8 billion. That’s enough money to keep highway and transit aid flowing to states through mid-December if necessary. The Senate is expected to follow suit later in the week.

Congress is up against a deadline of midnight Friday to act. That’s when authority for the Transportation Department will expire and the department will no longer be able to process highway and transit aid payments to states. The extra money is necessary because the balance in the federal Highway Trust Fund is forecast to drop below the $4 billion cushion necessary to prevent disruptions in aid to states.

This will be the 34th short-term extension Congress has passed since 2009.

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