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Update on highway bill: McConnell goes big on roads bill

From “The Hill”

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is steering the Senate toward a multi-year highway bill that could take the funding issue off the table through the 2016 elections.

The bill could be released as early as Tuesday, though the Kentucky Republican is keeping the details close to his chest as conservative groups watch for anything that resembles a tax hike.

McConnell has ruled out raising the gas tax and opposes paying for the bill by devising a new tax regime for overseas profits, limiting his options.

But the GOP leader is taking a hands-on approach in negotiations with Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), and on Monday expressed confidence that a deal was imminent.

“Sen. Boxer and I have been in negotiations all weekend, and I spoke with her yesterday, and we’re hoping to be able to announce tomorrow a major bipartisan multi-year highway bill,” McConnell said in Shepherdsville, Ky.

McConnell is pursuing a multi-year bill shorter than the six-year extension favored by Senate Democrats and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). Doing so could head off an intraparty fight over how to use revenues from tax reform.

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