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Senate amends highway bill, delaying final action to keep money flowing to states

WASHINGTON - The Senate has amended a House-passed highway bill. The move delays until later this week final congressional action for keeping federal highway funds flowing to states through the November election.

Senators opposed a provision in the $10.8 billion House bill to cover more than half its cost by letting companies defer required contributions to their employee pension plans. That would raise both the companies' tax bills and revenue for the government to devote to highway spending.

The Senate's action requires that the bill go back to the House. Leaders there say they will reject the Senate change.

The final bill is still expected to clear Congress before it recesses later this week. If it doesn't, hundreds of thousands of construction workers could be laid off before the election.

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