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."

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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.