Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2009 by Darren Goode and Dan Friedman

House and Senate disagreements over extending surface transportation law over several months are likely to lead to a one-month fix, a key Senate Republican said Tuesday.

Environment and Public Works ranking member James Inhofe said he and Environment and Public Works Chairwoman Barbara Boxer are pushing for a bicameral agreement on extending the law for six months. But, he noted, “the level of optimism I have is not very high.”

Inhofe said the result is likely that the law — which expires Saturday — will be given a second consecutive one-month extension in a continuing resolution both chambers are expected to move this week.

Inhofe and Boxer are meeting resistance from House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman James Oberstar, who wants to only extend the law another two months, keeping the pressure on to finish a six-year bill by the end of this year.

Senate Democratic leaders and the Obama administration have conceded that priorities like health care, financial regulatory reform, appropriations and climate change do not leave nearly enough time to make such quick work on a six-year bill.

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