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White House backs GOP highway bill, putting it at odds with Democrats


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2550838Washington Examiner:

The White House signaled support late Monday for a short-term Republican fix to the Highway Trust Fund, backing a GOP bill slammed by Democratic leadership.


“With surface transportation funding running out and hundreds of thousands of jobs at risk later this summer, the administration supports [the House bill,]” the Obama administration said in a statement.


“This legislation would provide for continuity of funding for the Highway Trust Fund during the height of the summer construction season and keep Americans at work repairing the nation's crumbling roads, bridges, and transit systems."


Still, the administration officials argued that more needs to be done, a message President Obama will take on the road this week.Scissors-32x32.png

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Wyden flexes muscles in highway fight


Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) is at the center of an emerging deal that would keep federal road repairs from coming to a halt.


Wyden surprised outside groups and some of his Democratic colleagues last week by reaching a deal last week with Republicans to provide almost $11 billion in funding for the Highway Trust Fund — enough to keep it operating until May of next year.


In doing so, Wyden, whose desire to work with Republicans on policy priorities has at times frustrated lawmakers in his own party, dropped a Democratic demand that lawmakers extend transportation spending until the end of the year to create a final showdown after the midterm elections.

Wyden’s decision to acquiesce quickly stepped on the toes of some of his colleagues.Scissors-32x32.png


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