Reid predicts Senate will pass transportation bill Tuesday

Reid reiterated his contention that the transportation legislation would save or create 3 million jobs.

"It is something we need to get," he said. "And I hope that once we pass this, the House will take this up and not listen to this shrill voice that makes up so much of the Republican caucus in the House and get this passed."

Among the amendments being considered Tuesday was a measure that would bar privatized highways that make cash payouts to states from receiving federal transportation funds, which approved on 50-47 vote.

Another measure taken up by lawmakers would have mandated a huge expansion of offshore oil-and-gas leasing, opened the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling and approved construction of the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline. However, that measure failed 41-57.

In his remarks to reporters, Reid sought to keep the focus on the underlying transportation bill that necessitated the series of amendments that first began last Thursday and continued on Tuesday.

"The highway bill expires at the end of this month, so we have to get this done," Reid said of the Senate's measure to extend transportation programs — and the collection of the federal gas tax — for the next two years.

"I hope they're not going to go out of their way, as they usually do, to create a fight on something that doesn't deserve a fight," he said of Republicans in the GOP-led House.