House punts, passing 90-day extension to transportation bill

Nancy Pelosi Holds Her Weekly Briefing

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File: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) holds her weekly news briefing with reporters at the U.S. Captiol March 1, 2012 in Washington, DC.

Congress has passed an extension that will keep some transportation projects going for the next 90 days. But the larger, multi-billion dollar transportation bill remains stalled in the House. It’ll now have to wait until after the Easter-Passover recess.

Republican House Speaker John Boehner did not apologize for the delay in bringing a new transportation bill to the floor. He says extending this current highway bill for 90 days "was the most responsible way forward."

Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco accused the Republican-controlled House of kicking the can down the road. She wants the House to pass the two-year transportation bill that got bipartisan support in the Senate, or pass its own bill and hash it out in a conference committee.

She says Democrats have asked the GOP to pass "something that can go to conference, and then an extension covers the time you go to conference, and that should be a matter of weeks and then it’s over. But apparently, they don’t have the votes to do that."

The five-year GOP measure would cut transportation funding and not allow federal dollars to be spent on transit projects. That last provision is opposed by Democrats and Republicans from urban areas that rely on mass transit.

California Democrat Barbara Boxer continued her campaign to get the House to abandon its bill and vote on the Senate version. "Do what we did here in the Senate. Reach across party lines and get this done for the American people."

The Chamber of Commerce says the impasse is costing jobs and stalling construction projects. Congress won’t return to work until the middle of April.

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