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House Republicans Reject Bipartisan Highway Bill

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House Republicans' rejection of a bipartisan highway bill could cause thousands of construction workers their jobs.
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House Republicans' rejection of a bipartisan highway bill could cause thousands of construction workers their jobs.

Democrats are upset that House Republicans are rejecting a bipartisan highway bill that passed the Senate with overwhelming support.

Three quarters of the Senate, including 22 Republicans support extending the nation's highway program for two years. House Republican leaders, however, say the bill's $109 billion price tag is just too high.

Democrats counter the legislation will spur job growth, providing work for as many as three million people. It includes highway money for Maryland and Virginia, and a provision to improve Metro safety. Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) says the GOP plan to pass a three-month extension is wrongheaded.

"The transportation bill is not only bipartisan it s a consensus, it has the right balance," says Cardin. "It passed by an overwhelming majority in the Senate. An additional short-term extension is going to cause us significant problems and will cost us jobs."

The current highway authorization expires at the end of next week, and Democrats claim letting the program halt, even temporarily, could cost as many as 800,000 construction workers their jobs.

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