(Elaine Thompson/AP)

House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) once pushed his conference to help pass an ambitious five-year transportation spending plan, but those talks quickly collapsed. Before last week’s recess, Boehner signaled that the House might be open to quickly passing the Senate’s two-year, $109 billion spending plan, which easily passed that chamber last week.←

In a brief exchange with reporters Tuesday, Boehner and his leadership colleagues mentioned Paul Ryan’s new budget proposal, rising gas prices, repeal of the IPAB and the Democratic focus on the so-called Republican War on Women.

But how about that highway bill?

“We’re talking with our members about the highway bill, and when we have a decision we’ll let you know,” Boehner said before quickly fielding other questions.

On Monday, President Obama called on the House to quickly pass the Senate's bill, saying, “An economy built to last depends on a world-class infrastructure system that allows us to transport our people and goods as quickly and effectively as possible.”

Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) chimed in Tuesday as well, urging the House to move quickly to pass the legislation and safeguard millions of jobs. Instead it seems, Reid said, that “the House has come to the conclusion that they can’t do anything, unless they get a permission slip from the tea party.”

If the House fails to move forward on a highway bill this week, both chambers would have to pass a short-term spending measure. Stay tuned.

This story has been updated.

Follow Ed O’Keefe on Twitter: @edatpost

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