House Dems refuse to sign committee deal on highway bill

Among the issues, which DeFazio called "deficiencies that were concessions to the Republicans," were provisions to weaken environmental regulations Republicans argued were delaying construction projects.

Democrats were also opposed to the lack of a Buy America provision that they had sought throughout the contentious negotiations on the highway bill, DeFazio said.

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The outspoken Oregon lawmaker added that Democrats still had objections to the process that led to the bicameral agreement for the transportation bill. He and other Democrats on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee complained of being left out of the months-long negotiations between the two chambers, contrasting sharply with what they called the bipartisianship between Democratic and Republican conferees in the Senate.

DeFazio acknowledged the protest from minority Democrats on the House Transportation Committee would be unlikely to prevent Republicans from bringing it to the floor of the House. A vote is expected to come as early as Friday, despite a House rule requiring legislation to be available for review for three days prior to the vote.

"The Republicans can bring it to the floor. They got enough signatures," he said.

DeFazio said he would likely vote for the final passage of the transportation funding bill despite his protest about the conference committee process that led to it.