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Pelosi on highway patch: 'How can we leave doing that?'

Pelosi on highway patch: 'How can we leave doing that?'
© Francis Rivera

House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiMaria Bartiromo defends reporting: 'Keep trashing me, I'll keep telling the truth' Democratic clamor grows for select committee on Jan. 6 attack GOP increasingly balks at calling Jan. 6 an insurrection MORE (D-Calif.) criticized Republicans in the House for leaving town without passing a long-term transportation funding bill. 

Lawmakers, facing a Friday deadline for renewing federal transportation spending, approved an extension Wednesday that lasts until Oct. 29. 

Pelosi said Thursday as the Senate was voting to send the temporary highway bill to President Obama's desk that she was disappointed lawmakers were settling for another patch.

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"Without passing a robust, long-term highway bill that America needs, how can we leave doing that?" Pelosi said in a news conference at the Capitol. 

"Now, we have ... another short-term bill," she continued. "I feel confident that the Speaker sincerely wants a highway bill, but he must not empower those in his caucus who take away his power to bring such a bill to the floor." 

Lawmakers in the Senate also voted Thursday to approve a bill that would provide three years' worth of highway funding, but Republicans leaders in the House refused to bring the measure up because it contained a controversial renewal of the Export-Import Bank.

The rejection from GOP leaders in the House forced the Senate to accept the temporary extension to prevent an interruption in the nation's highway and transit funding.

Pelosi lamented the fact that Congress has not passed a transportation bill lasting longer than two years since 2005. 

"Here we are again," she said of the latest patch. 

"Highway Trust Fund infrastructure bill has never been partisan until this particular breed of Republicans," Pelosi continued. "So we have a lot of unfinished business." 

Pelosi said she doubted lawmakers in the House would be able to pass a long-term transportation bill quickly when Congress returns in September from its summer break, despite Speaker John Boehner's (R-Ohio) predictions.

"The Speaker predicts that September is going to be this great month," Pelosi said. "I think there are nine working days — maybe 11 if you count two to welcome his holiness, Pope Francis, which is wonderful, but it's not a day that we're going to get any of this work done."