"It's unfortunate we are going to have to have a number votes on a number of amendments that have nothing to do with this legislation," Reid said. 

Among the dozens of amendments suggested by Republicans for the highway bill is one that would speed construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, another to allow drilling for oil in most domestic bodies of water and another that would repeal the Environmental Protection Agency’s boiler MAC rules. 

In his opening speech Wednesday, Reid also embraced Speaker of the House John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerDems face hard choice for State of the Union response Even some conservatives seem open to return to earmarks Overnight Finance: Trump, lawmakers take key step to immigration deal | Trump urges Congress to bring back earmarks | Tax law poised to create windfall for states | Trump to attend Davos | Dimon walks back bitcoin criticism MORE's (R-Ohio) suggestion that the House would take up the Senate-passed bill. 

“I was satisfied yesterday that the Speaker of the House … said he thought … the thing to do would be to take a Senate version of the bill if we can figure out how to pass one.”