Senate Dems launch countdown clock to highway funding expiration

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Previous attempts on Monday and Tuesday to pass a 90-day and 60-day extension respectively in the lower chamber were unsuccessful. The measures were both pulled after it appeared GOP leaders did not have the required two-thirds vote to consider the measure under a suspension of the House rules.

The House had been scheduled to try a third attempt Wednesday to pass a short-term highway extension, but the measure is listed as postponed on the most recent calendar released by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's (R-Va.) office.

A spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Wednesday that the delay in voting on their highway bill extension is not permanent.

“The Democrats said they would not accept a 90-day extension but would accept a 60-day extension," Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said in a statement. "So the plan is to pass a 60-day extension this week."

Lawmakers have until March 31 to pass a highway bill extension before the government's authorization to collect the federal gas tax, which is normally used to fund transportation projects, expires.