By Mike Lillis - 03/27/12 05:36 PM EDT
Earlier this month, the Senate passed a $109 billion proposal that would authorize spending for roads, bridges and other transportation infrastructure projects for the next two years. Sponsored by Sens. Barbara BoxerBarbara BoxerTrump and Sanders whip up debate buzz Boxer: Sanders appeals to young voters with grandpa effect The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (D-Calif.) and James InhofeJames InhofePaul blocks chemical safety bill in Senate GOP senators propose sending ISIS fighters to Gitmo Overnight Defense: VA chief 'deeply' regrets Disney remark; Senate fight brews over Gitmo MORE (R-Okla.), the bill sailed through the upper chamber with a 74-22 vote. Twenty-two Republicans voted in favor of the bill.
Without congressional action, the gas tax for the highway trust fund will expire at the end of March.
Despite the bipartisan vote in the Senate, BoehnerJohn BoehnerHouse GOP faces dilemma on spending bills Overnight Finance: Puerto Rico bill clears panel | IRS chief vows to finish term | Bill would require nominees to release tax returns Overnight Defense: Pentagon chief fears sequestration's return MORE and other GOP leaders have resisted the upper chamber's bill. After failing to rally support for their own five-year reauthorization bill, the Republicans are now trying to push through a short-term extension. Even that, however, is facing an uncertain future.
GOP leaders had scheduled a Monday evening vote on a three-month extension, but they yanked the bill when it emerged that Democrats were uniting against it in hopes of forcing a vote on the Senate bill instead. The GOP measure was on the suspension calendar, meaning it would have needed support from two-thirds of the House to pass — a hurdle requiring the backing of dozens of Democrats.
GOP leaders on Tuesday will try again to pass their short-term version. Hoyer, for one, is hoping they abandon that strategy in favor of the Boxer-Inhofe bill.
"You had very substantial bipartisan agreement in the United States Senate," Hoyer said. "I don't know why that shouldn't be reflected over here [in the House]."