Six years of highway funding is currently the focus of negotiations in Congress. Current federal transportation spending authorization expires at the end of July, so the legislature has to pass something. Because the legislature has to pass something, people are trying to squeeze everything into it.
For example: reauthorization of the United States Export-Import Bank. The authority for this "service," a taxpayer-bankrolled loan program for major corporations like Boeing, General Electric, and John Deere, expired at the start of July. This is a very good thing. (If you don't know why, read this lengthy explanation by Reason columnist and Mercatus Center economist Veronique de Rugy.)
When he was a senator, Barack Obama knew the program was nothing but corporate welfare. But now as president, he has flip-flopped and is trying to keep the institution alive. According to The Hill, the president is "insisting" that reauthorization for the Ex-Im Bank be included in the transportation bill:
The standoff has imperiled federal transportation funding that is scheduled to expire on July 31 without congressional action.
White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Thursday that Obama is adamant the Ex-Im Bank renewal should be included in the transportation funding bill, despite the objections from the GOP-led House.
"Surface transportation legislation is the most likely legislative vehicle, no pun intended, to move before the end of the month," he said. "That's why we've insisted that the provisions related to reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank should be added to any transportation bill that passes Congress this month."
As The Hill notes, the legislation is 1,000 pages worth of stuff. The House authorized an $8 billion funding extension until the end of the year to try to keep the Senate from attaching the Ex-Im Bank reauthorization into the bill.
Tim Carney of the Washington Examiner has been reporting on the corruption of the Ex-Im Bank for years as well. He noted yesterday that Boeing and General Electric, the two biggest beneficiaries of the bank, spent the most money lobbying last quarter, more than $17 million between the two of them. Carney tweeted a couple of hours ago that Sen. Marco Rubio has introduced an amendment to the highway bill that would kill the bank and unload its assets to the treasury.