A six-year, $145 billion highway bill has died at the hands of Democrats pushing for new campaign finance laws.
"In view of the other things we must do, . . . we're just out of time for the year," Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott for it, Lott, R-Miss., said Tuesday after losing the fourth attempt in two weeks to stop a Democratic filibuster of the bill.
Democrats blocked the highway bill in an attempt to pressure Republicans to agree to setting a date for full-fledged debate and action on revising campaign finance laws.
All of the Senate's 45 Democrats support a campaign finance sponsored by Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Russell Feingold, D-Wis.
The Democratic filibuster exempted bills covering government spending for fiscal year 1998, which began Oct. 1.
The highway bill was targeted because it is a long-term authorization measure for road-building projects.
Minority Leader Thomas A. Daschle, D-S.D., said Democrats would support a six-month highway bill, but Lott said he will not bring up such an interim measure.