The week ahead: Highway bill talks enter week five

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But House Speaker John BoehnerJohn Boehner3 ways the next president can succeed on immigration reform Republican Study Committee elders back Harris for chairman Dems to GOP: Help us fix ObamaCare MORE (R-Ohio) raised the possibility last week of an extension that would only last six months, leading transportation industry observers to worry that the conference committee's negotiations will end up at a dead end.

A back-and-forth between Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidCongress steamrolls Obama's veto Grassley accuses Reid of 'pure unfiltered partisanship' Overnight Defense: Congress overrides Obama 9/11 veto | Pentagon breathes easy after funding deal | More troops heading to Iraq MORE (D-Nev.) and 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 (R-Va.) has added to the pessimism. Reid accused Cantor last week of trying to sabotage the U.S. economy by stalling the highway talks. A spokesman for BoehnerJohn Boehner3 ways the next president can succeed on immigration reform Republican Study Committee elders back Harris for chairman Dems to GOP: Help us fix ObamaCare MORE responded by calling the accusation "bulls--t."

Against that backdrop, the House will likely counter the Senate's draft of a possible conference committee report this week. Conference Committee Chairwoman Sen. Barbara BoxerBarbara BoxerDems gain upper hand on budget Overnight Finance: Senate rejects funding bill as shutdown looms | Labor Dept. to probe Wells Fargo | Fed to ease stress test rules for small banks Funding bill rejected as shutdown nears MORE (D-Calif.) said last week that the Senate's initial proposal did not include House priorities like the authorization of the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline, but she said the offer "reflects a lot of their proposals."

House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.) said last week that the lower chamber would counter the Senate's proposal in a "sequential manner," though he noted the House will be not be in session this week.