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Harry Reid: ‘We’re Making Progress’ on Highway Bill

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

Updated: 1:33 p.m.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said today he remains hopeful a deal can be reached on highway legislation by Friday and avoid the need for another short-term extension.

Were making progress on the highway bill. I mean, really, I feel good about that, Reid said, noting his discussions with Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), Senate Environment and Public Works Chairman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman John Mica (R-Fla.).

Whether we get it done remains to be seen. But the House in an overwhelming vote [Wednesday], totally bipartisan ... instructed the conferees to come back with a bill by tomorrow, Reid added.

While he acknowledged that a number of difficult issues remain unresolved, he said, I feel that we have a shot at getting the highway bill done.

Reids upbeat assessment is the clearest indication that the marathon negotiations between Boxer and Mica which have been closely monitored by both Reid and Boehner could be close to bearing fruit.

Mica and Boxer released a vaguely-worded joint statement this afternoon indicating they are making progress, but would not meet the end of the week deadline set by their leaders

The conferees have moved forward toward a bipartisan, bicameral agreement on a highway reauthorization bill. Both House and Senate conferees will continue to work with a goal of completing a package by next week, they said.

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