House to introduce three-month highway bill extension

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Mica's office said the transportation extension would be a clean extension of the current legislation that funds transportation projects, which expired in 2009.

Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidDems search for winning playbook Dems face hard choice for State of the Union response The Memo: Immigration battle tests activists’ muscle MORE said Tuesday that he did not plan on holding another vote in the Senate on transportation, pointing out that his chamber's version of the highway bill won the votes of 74 senators last week — no small feat in the chamber.

"I plan not to do that," Reid said when he was asked about the possibility of voting on a short-term extension if one is sent over to the Senate by the House.

Democrats stopped short Wednesday of sticking to Reid's hardline, even as they raised the specter of a shutdown that would eclipse the furloughs that were experienced by the Federal Aviation Administration last year if the collection of the federal gas tax, which traditionally funds road and transit projects, is not renewed.  

"It's the FAA shutdown on steroids," Senate Environment and Public Committee Chairwoman Barbara BoxerBarbara Levy BoxerDems face hard choice for State of the Union response Billionaire Steyer to push for Dem House push Billionaire Steyer announces million for Dem House push MORE (D-Calif.) said in a news conference about the possibility of the gas tax authorization not being renewed by next weekend.

"The FAA bill created and protected about two hundred thousand jobs," she continued. "We're talking about 3 million jobs."

"It's death by 1,000 paper cuts," Sen. Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerDemocrats will need to explain if they shut government down over illegal immigration White House: Trump remarks didn't derail shutdown talks Schumer defends Durbin after GOP senator questions account of Trump meeting MORE (D-N.Y.), the third-ranking Democrat in the Senate, added.

"If you keep extending the bill … it's the death knell of the bill, because the trust fund will be gone," Schumer said. "Every time you extend it, the trust fund gets lower and lower and it'll be gone by…the end of the year."

But when Schumer was asked by The Hill whether he would rather see a short-term extension or an interruption in the collection of the gas tax, he said only, "We're urging them not to put us in that position, or America."