Senate Democrats blocked advancement of a longterm bipartisan highway funding bill after saying they didn't have enough time to review the proposal.
In a 41-56 vote, Democrats stopped the measure from moving to the Senate floor for consideration, even though it was co-authored with Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., the top Democrat on the Senate Environment and Public Works panel. But with 54 Senate Republicans, it's clear that many GOP members of the upper chamber also opposed the bill.
Republicans had been hoping to complete debate on the bill by next week, in time for the House to perhaps pass it before it adjourns for the long August recess on July 31.
There was no immediate indication when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., would bring up the bill again.
The legislation would pay for highway projects for six years but just three years of the price tag is funded, much of it by tougher tax enforcement.
The proposal is more than 1,000 pages long and includes provisions to improve auto and railroad safety and infrastructure. It boosts public transportation funding by nearly $2 billion.
Sponsors of the bill have come up with a long list of changes in tax compliance and other federal programs to pay for the legislation.
For example, the legislation would take steps that prevent beneficiaries from overstating the value of inherited property. Such a change would generate $1.5 billion over a decade.
It also proposed selling off 101 million barrels of crude oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, and would cut back on the dividends the Federal Reserve pays to member banks.
Among other things, the bill proposes to take money usually reserved for general government spending and put it in the highway trust fund, a move that could cause shortfalls elsewhere. For instance, it would deposit civil penalties related to motor vehicle safety into the highway trust fund, along with Transportation Security Administration fees.