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Tulsa World: Senate fight blocks Oklahoma road funds, jobless benefit extension
February 26, 2010

Posted by Matt Dempsey matt_dempsey@epw.senate.gov

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Tulsa World

Senate fight blocks Oklahoma road funds, jobless benefit extension

By JIM MYERS World Washington Bureau
Published: 2/26/2010  1:02 PM
Last Modified: 2/26/2010  1:02 PM

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WASHINGTON - An unexpected fight in the Senate not only blocked efforts Friday to keep road funds flowing to Oklahoma and other states but also the extension of jobless benefits.

U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., said the money for road projects runs out over the weekend.

Inhofe's office also said employees of the Federal Highway Administration will have to be furloughed beginning next week.

Inhofe, who is a key player on transportation issues in Congress, said he has tried to contact Sen. Jim Bunning, R-Ky., who blocked action on the bill that would have extended roads funds and jobless benefits.

"I'm going to call in all my chits," Inhofe said.

"We are great friends."

Bunning blocked action on the bill, saying he thinks its costs should be offset. The Senate adjourned for the week without taking further action.

Inhofe said he hopes to get the impasse resolved by the time the Senate returns on Monday.

But, it remained unclear whether, even if Bunning drops his objection, action on the bill could be taken on Monday or Tuesday.

Bunning's office indicated he was not ready to give up.

Press spokesman Mike Reynard said the senator supports the programs in the bill but believes they should be paid for and not added to the debt.

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