Senate Transport-Bill Passage Turns Attention to the House: Boehner's Options Unpalatable

Will Congress extend transportation reauthorization again rather than pass new legislation?

House Speaker John Boehner has to do something about the transportation bill before the end of March, and the current menu of options laid out before him stink.

He could stick with the original House plan — a nearly five-year, $260 billion bill, which factions of his own party and pretty much the entire Democratic caucus have rejected. He could take up an 18-month version of the longer bill, which the GOP also has already rejected. He could take up the two-year, $109 billion bill the Senate passed earlier this week. He could brew up some other mystery option.

Or the problems before him might be so intractable that the only answer is to punt, possibly into next year. In that case, lawmakers would have to extend surface transportation programs that otherwise are to expire at the end of the month — and there’s no guarantee people would agree to that, either.

(More on House options for the US highway bill . . . )