House Republicans Dec. 9 released the details of a $1.1 trillion package negotiated by members of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees to fund the majority of the federal government through the remainder of FY 2015. The short-term extension of last year’s funding levels—that has been in place since the new fiscal year began October 1—expires December 11. The measure would only fund the Department of Homeland Security through February, as some Republicans want to explore options to use the agency’s funding bill as a means to respond to President Obama’s recent immigration actions.
For the transportation programs, the FY 2015 funding proposal would keep highway investment at the $40.3 billion level from FY 2014. It would also retain the FY 2014 core transit state and local grant program of $8.6 billion and increase transit capital grants by $177 million to $2.1 billion. The highway and transit programs, however, are only authorized through May 31 and the Highway Trust Fund cannot support funding for these programs beyond that date. As such, the measure introduced last night does nothing to change the major challenge facing the surface transportation programs in 2015. The bill also would keep airport capital funding at $3.35 billion and Amtrak funding at $1.39 billion. The measure would cut funding for the Obama Administration’s multimodal TIGER Grant Program from $600 million in FY 2014 to $500 million.
House and Senate leaders are currently working to secure votes for the package, but another interim extension measure may be necessary to keep federal programs operating until the broader FY 2015 package can be approved by both chambers.