Reid does not plan Senate vote on House short-term highway bill

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The Senate highway bill approved last week would spend $109 billion on road and public transportation projects over the next two years. The White House and Democrats have urged House Republicans to move their bill, but House leaders indicated Tuesday they would pass a short-term extension of current funding instead.

"Republicans want more fighting," Reid's office said on Tuesday.

The short-term bill is intended to give House GOP leaders more time to pass their own version of a new transportation bill.

"A decision will be made on the length of an extension hopefully in the next 24 hours and it will be up next week, so that we can continue working to finalize the bill," House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John Mica (R-Fla.) told reporters after a speech at a Washington rally to encourage Congress to provide more funding for transportation.

The transportation bill has been a top priority of House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), but House leaders have had trouble corralling Republicans to support the proposal for a five-year, $260 billion bill. Boehner's proposal, which would pay for new projects with revenue from the approval of new domestic oil and gas drilling, has been criticized from all sides.

Democrats attacked the drilling provisions and a cut to public transportation funding, while fiscally conservative Republicans criticized the plan for spending more than the roughly $35 billion per year that is brought in by the federal gas tax, which normally funds transportation projects.

Reid and other Democrats, including President Obama, have sought to pressure House Republicans into accepting the transportation bill that was passed by the Senate, arguing it is bipartisan because it does not include the controversial drilling provisions and received 74 votes in the upper chamber.

But Boehner said Tuesday he would make decisions on the highway bill after "talking with our members," not Democrats.

If the House passes a short-term extension of highway funding and it is not taken up, funding for transportation programs and the collection of the federal gas tax will expire in less than two weeks.