Senate rejects amendment to allow states to opt out of federal transportation program

Sen. Rob PortmanRob PortmanPortman ad features father of fallen Iraq soldier Election-year politics: Senate Dems shun GOP vulnerables Grassley accuses Reid of 'pure unfiltered partisanship' MORE (R-Ohio) proposed the amendment and said it would create efficiency and "flexibility" states need to maintain their roads, bridges and highways "back at home."

Sen. Barbara BoxerBarbara BoxerDems gain upper hand on budget Overnight Finance: Senate rejects funding bill as shutdown looms | Labor Dept. to probe Wells Fargo | Fed to ease stress test rules for small banks Funding bill rejected as shutdown nears MORE (D-Calif.), however, pointed out the legislation's similarity to other amendments defeated earlier in the day and said it would "devolve the highway fund."

The highway bill also survived a second attempt by Sen. Bob CorkerBob CorkerDem leaders defend overriding 9/11 bill veto GOP leaders express reservations a day after 9/11 veto override White House: Congress has 'buyer's remorse' on 9/11 bill MORE (R-Tenn.) to repair its failure to conform to the summer's Budget Control Act. Corker offered an amendment that would have offset spending for the highway bill by making $11 billion in across-the-board cuts in other areas of discretionary spending.

Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), however, raised a budgetary point of order against the amendment, which was sustained.