The Senate is in session today, and is poised to pass a temporary highway and transit funding bill to address the looming shortfall that threatens to stall infrastructure projects beginning August 1. Senators will begin work at 10:00 am today, and will vote to confirm four nominations before a series of afternoon votes on the House-passed highway bill (H.R. 5021). The trust fund gets its money from the 18.4 cents per gallon gas tax, which has struggled to keep up with the need for infrastructure spending projects as cars grow more fuel-efficient. The bill—which is expected to pass today—will fund infrastructure and transit work through May 2015 with an $11 billion cash infusion. Most of the costs of the House bill are offset through “pension smoothing,” which some senators have derided as a budget gimmick.
The Senate convenes at 10:00 am today, and at 2:00 pm will vote on three of President Obama’s executive nominations — Shaun Donovan (Executive Calendar #903) to be Director of the Office of Management and Budget, Douglas Silliman (Executive Calendar #695) to be U.S. ambassador to Kuwait, and Dana Smith (Executive Calendar #895) to be U.S. ambassador to Qatar. There is a roll call vote expect on Donovan’s nomination and voice votes on the Silliman and Smith nominations.