Senate backers of an aviation reauthorization bill were unable to muster enough votes on May 6 to block a Republican filibuster. The bill was pulled from the floor after the failed cloture vote, leaving the next step unclear. Senate aviation subcommittee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) said he was “Frustrated, perplexed and deeply disappointed,” but added, “I remain hopeful that we can work things out” with those who opposed the bill.

Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said the GOP wanted non-aviation provisions deleted from the bill. They include a $5-billion “fix” for a projected 2009 deficit in the Highway Trust Fund highway account. Without added revenue, highway spending would have to be cut by more than 30%, construction groups warn.