Boehner backs pension-linked plan for highway funds

Reuters with

House Speaker John Boehner said Wednesday he welcomes a plan to extend U.S. highway funding until May 31, 2015, from Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp and hopes to see it pass the House within two weeks.

Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio
Tom Williams | CQ Roll Call | Getty Images

"I think Chairman Camp and the members of the Ways and Means Committee have a really solid bill to help pay for the shortfall, if you will, in the Highway Trust Fund for the next eight or nine months," Boehner told reporters.

Camp's $10.9 billion plan would be paid for with some fund transfers and revenue-raising measures, including $6.5 billion in new revenue from "pension smoothing," an accounting move that allows companies to delay contributions to employee pension plans. This boosts short-term corporate profits, producing more tax revenue collected by the Treasury.

"This is the only package with a proven history of getting big bipartisan votes in both the House and Senate," Republican Camp said in a statement. "And, while it doesn't provide as much funding as I would like—enough to get through the end of next year—it does give Congress and the tax-writing Committees ample time to consider a more long-term solution to the Highway Trust Fund."

The highway fund finances more than $50 billion annually and supports as many as 700,000 construction jobs,The Fiscal Times reported in May.

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The Obama administration has warned for several months that the Department of Transportation's Highway Trust Fund will run out of money to support key highway, bridge and transit projects if no new legislation is passed this summer.

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—By Reuters. contributed to this report.