Paul Ryan says infrastructure overhaul will be split into 5 or 6 bills

Lindsey McPherson, CQ-Roll Call on

Published in Political News

WASHINGTON -- Speaker Paul D. Ryan on Thursday affirmed House Republicans' intentions to complete an infrastructure overhaul this year but said that the effort will be broken into pieces.

"We don't want to do one big bill," the Wisconsin Republican said at an event in Georgia with Home Depot employees.

Rather, Ryan said the infrastructure overhaul will be tackled in five to six bills.

"We think it's easier to break it into pieces," he said.

The effort will start "in about a week and a half" with a short-term reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration, whose authorization is scheduled to expire March 31.

The FAA extension, likely to last sometime in the summer, is expected to be attached to the fiscal 2018 omnibus spending bill.

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The spending measure will include a "down payment" on infrastructure funding, Ryan said. He was referring to a budget deal reached earlier this year on raising the sequestration spending caps that sets aside $10 billion in fiscal 2018 and fiscal 2019 for infrastructure from the nondefense spending increase agreed to for those years.

Other specific bills Ryan said would be part of the piecemeal infrastructure overhaul, which he expects to be ongoing through the summer, include a longer-term FAA reauthorization, the biennial Water Resources Development Act authorizing water infrastructure projects like ports and inland waterways and legislation to streamline the permit approval process.

Congress had planned to do the FAA and WRDA measures this year anyway, separate of the larger infrastructure push from President Donald Trump and his administration.

Ryan also alluded to a traditional highway funding bill that would infuse money into the Highway Trust Fund.


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