Facing increasing opposition from within his own party, Speaker John Boehner may scrap his ambitious five-year highway and energy package in favor of a shorter and more palatable measure.
A spokesman for the Ohio Republican acknowledged today that changes were being considered and sought to lay the blame on Senate Democrats.
“Given Senate Democrats’ unwillingness to pursue a longer-term infrastructure and energy plan, House Republican leaders are considering a revamped approach,” Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said.
But Republicans privately acknowledged the problems with the bill lie not only in the House, where the transportation portion was expected to fail, but also within Boehner’s own conference.
According to a GOP aide, Boehner is considering shortening the bill to two years and scrapping a plan to separate transit and highway funding, a plan that led to a moderate revolt within his conference. The retooled bill could also include new cuts to spending as a potential fig leaf to conservatives within the party.
The turmoil is the latest in a series of embarrassing unforced errors for Boehner on the transportation bill.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.