No extension on transportation bill

| 4/28/2004

House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-IL, has decided to avoid an election-year veto of the transportation reauthorization bill, according to Republican sources who spoke to The Hill newspaper.

Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, D-SD, said he also opposes a temporary extension.

“Here we go again, without the opportunity for Democrats to participate while the Republicans are making very partisan decisions about the level of commitment to highways for the next several years. That is wrong,” Daschle said.

Hastert, who has been negotiating with White House officials, has decided to pass on a 30- or 60-day extension and use the extra time to pare down the cost to a level acceptable to the president.

The speaker is scheduled to meet with Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-TN, and White House Chief of Staff Andy Card this week to reach an agreement on the total funding level for the bill.

GOP leaders think that a presidential veto of a major bill and a possible override of that veto by the Republican-controlled House and Senate would be bad politics six months before an election, especially since President Bush has not yet vetoed a single bill during his tenure in office.