Reid says Cantor trying to sabotage economy by not moving highway bill

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Tuesday accused House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) of deliberately trying to sabotage the U.S. economy.

Republicans immediately fired back, with Speaker John Boehner's (R-Ohio) spokesman using an eight-letter word to rebuke the Senate leader.

“That’s bull----," said Boehner spokesman Michael Steel. "House Republicans are united in our desire to get a sensible, reform-minded transportation bill done, including job-creating energy initiatives like Keystone.”

Reid has grown frustrated by House Republicans’ reluctance to pass a multiyear transportation authorization bill, which Democrats say would create hundreds of thousands of jobs.

House Republicans have threatened to pull out of conference talks with Senate negotiators, according to one media report, which could scuttle any prospects for a deal. A senior House GOP aide, however, disputed the report.

“You have heard as I heard that there’s a battle going on between Cantor and Boehner as to whether or not there should be a bill,” Reid told reporters. “Cantor, of course, I’m told by others, that he wants to not do a bill and make the economy worse because he feels that’s better for them.

“I hope that that’s not true,” Reid said.

Cantor spokeswoman Laena Fallon pushed back immediately.

“Leader Reid’s claims are ridiculous and patently false. Rather than making up stories that have no basis in reality, Leader Reid should follow the House’s example and focus on pro-growth measures that will get the economy going and get people back to work,” she said.

Fallon noted that her boss on Friday expressed support for the negotiations.

“I’m hopeful that the conference committee can come to a solution prior to the expiration of the authorizing language in place right now, but, again, very mindful we don’t want to allow for any shutdown of any program at the end of this month,” Cantor said.

This story was updated at 4:19 p.m.