WASHINGTON — The House passed a bill Wednesday to temporarily shore up funding for transportation programs and prevent a shutdown in highway and transit aid to states at the end of this month. But Senate Republicans are trying to cobble together a longer-term bill that could provide money for several years.

The House bill would provide $8 billion to keep transportation aid flowing through Dec. 18 while lawmakers work on a long-term bill. It passed by a vote of 312-119.

Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa., chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said the five-month measure is necessary to buy more time to work on a longer measure.

The vote came exactly one year after the House passed another short-term extension because lawmakers said they needed more time to resolve the chronic problem of transportation money in order to pass a long-term fix.

Republican leaders are divided over a strategy for dealing with the problem.

As the House debated its short-term measure, Senate Republicans circulated a list of about $80 billion in potential savings, enough to cover the cost of a renewal of highway and mass transit funding for several years.

Among the items was a proposal to reduce the rate of return on one of the investment funds available to federal retirees, a $31 billion item over a decade. Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada has said he would oppose the move.

Another proposal would reduce the dividend that the Federal Reserve pays to member banks, worth about $17 billion.

Tax compliance measures would bring in $5.2 billion over a decade, and raising customs fees annually to adjust for inflation would generate $4 billion.

Officials stressed that no decisions had been made on either the duration or the financing of a longer-term highway measure that Senate Republicans are likely to advance in the coming days.


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