Parties battle over transportation bill

June 5, 2012 at 5:27 PM
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WASHINGTON, June 5 (UPI) -- The top Senate Democrat Tuesday accused a top Republican House member of deliberately trying to sabotage the U.S. economy.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., leveled the charge against House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va. The Hill newspaper said Reid is frustrated with House Republicans, who have been reluctant to pass a multiyear transportation authorization bill.

Democrats say the bill would mean hundreds of thousands of jobs.

"You have heard as I heard that there's a battle going on between Cantor and [House Speaker John] Boehner as to whether or not there should be a bill. Cantor ... I'm told by others, that he wants to not do a bill and make the economy worse because he feels that's better for them," Reid said. "I hope that that's not true."

"That's bull----," Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said. "House Republicans are united in our desire to get a sensible, reform-minded transportation bill done, including job-creating energy initiatives like Keystone."

Meanwhile, Sens. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and James Inhofe, R-Okla., Tuesday offered House members a proposal to break the impasse in highway bill negotiations.

The Hill said the proposal did not include a House provision forcing the Obama administration approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline, and Republican leaders on the House Transportation Committee initially were not receptive.

But Boxer said progress was being made.

"Senator Inhofe and I delivered a proposal to the House today that reflects a lot of their proposals," Boxer said. "We have presented an offer to our House counterpart. It's an offer that reflects their wishes ... because it's been four weeks and we've listened to them. We got a very warm reception over there, and we're excited, because we think this is going to move the process forward."

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