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 CantorEric CantorRyan seeks to avoid Boehner fate on omnibus GOPers fear trillion-dollar vote is inevitable Insiders dominate year of the outsider MORE's (R-Va.) office.

A spokesman for House Speaker John BoehnerJohn BoehnerRepublican Study Committee elders back Harris for chairman Dems to GOP: Help us fix ObamaCare The disorderly order of presidential succession MORE (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," BoehnerJohn BoehnerRepublican Study Committee elders back Harris for chairman Dems to GOP: Help us fix ObamaCare The disorderly order of presidential succession MORE 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.