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Obama opposes transportation bill without $302 billion in new spending

US President Barack Obama speaks before signing a memorandum on reducing the burden of student loans on June 9, 2014 in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

The Obama administration said Monday that it opposes a House bill funding federal transportation spending because it doesn't include the $302 billion in new spending it wants for highway and rail programs.

The White House released a statement Monday saying that without these "investments," it can't support the legislation.

The White House says it opposes a House transportation spending bill in part because it doesn't include $302 billion in new spending that is offset with higher tolls and higher taxes. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

"The bill fails to make needed investments in our nation's infrastructure, provides insufficient support for critical housing programs for low-income Americans and the homeless, and includes objectionable language provisions," the statement said.

President Barack Obama proposed a 2015 budget that includes the $302 billion in additional funding over four years. Obama proposed various ways to offset that additional cost, including new tolls on existing roads, tolls on heavily congested roads, and higher taxes on companies.

The White House statement said the bill is paid for with "pro-growth business tax reforms."

Republicans and Democrats agree that new funding is needed for federal highway and rail projects, but Republicans have proposed a different way to increase these funds.

Rather than imposing new tolls on drivers, Republicans are soon expected to pass a separate bill in the coming weeks that would raise money by stopping most mail delivery on Saturday, and also pass a short-term highway funding bill. The GOP says Democrats have also offered the idea of ending Saturday delivery as a way to save money at the U.S. Postal Service.

"The move to eliminate the mandate for full six day postal delivery has been requested by the Obama Administration, the Postal Service, and has been included in the postal reform bill reported by Chairman Issa and the Oversight and Government Reform Committee," Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said last week in a memo to Republicans.

"We firmly believe that this is the best way to ensure continued funding of highway projects in a fiscally responsible manner that implements a needed structural reform to a growing federal liability," Cantor wrote.

While the White House said it opposes the House bill, the statement did not threaten a veto against the legislation. The House is working on the transportation spending bill this week, and should be able to pass it.

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