Senate approves 90-day highway extension, sending measure to President Obama

The approval of the highway funding stopgap averts an interruption in the federal government's authorization to collect the 18.4 cent-per-gallon gas tax, which had been set to expire Saturday. The money is traditionally used to fund transportation projects.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) admitted that the extension was not the outcome he and other leaders in the Democratically controlled upper chamber had sought.

"This has been a difficult time for everyone," Reid said from the floor shortly after the Senate had approved the House's transportation measure. "What we have is what none of us wanted."

Reid said he hoped that Republicans in the House would reconsider their opposition to the Senate's version of the transportation bill after the two-week recess lawmakers are scheduled to begin next week.

Landrieu added that she hoped "that Republicans when they go home will hear from the business community, the right, the middle and the left."

" 'What are you guys doing?' " Landrieu said she hoped House Republicans would be asked by their constituents.

Republicans in the House defended the temporary measure Thursday as a necessary step toward Congress reaching an agreement on a long-term transportation bill.

"We expect that after this 90-day extension, that when we get back, we will move quickly to move a highway bill with our energy initiatives and ship it over to the United States Senate," Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said during a news conference Thursday.
"We are working on putting together the final touches on that bill, and it will be ready when we get back," Boehner said.

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