In front of a gaggle of reporters today, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, a former Republican congressman from Illinois known for bipartisanship and candor, was asked if his former GOP colleagues will likely vote for the bill now that a deal has been struck between the House and Senate.
"If I was selected by the president to try to get more votes my job will probably not last very long," LaHood said. "I haven’t been too successful so far. I’ve talked to my friends and former colleagues in the house and they know the importance of this. You know what their answer is, they have been concerned about the process and the way the bill was put together. But I’ve not heard one criticism from my friends on the Republican side about the fact that this piece of it, they all like it. And they all know that people will go to work. They are concerned about other issues."
After the gaggle, ABC News asked Mr. LaHood if he would comment on why every single one of his former colleagues on that side of the aisle voted against the bill.
"The ones that I talked to I think they were concerned about the process and that, you know, they weren’t involved in the process," LaHood said. "And as I said earlier I think when they talked about the transportation part of the stimulus I have not heard one word of criticism about it."
LaHood said he spoke to 11 Republican congressmen today and "not one of them said they were concerned by what we were trying to do on the transportation side of things. But, you know, they like to be in the room when these things are put together. And they haven’t been. And so I think they were a bit offended by that."
Should they have been in the room? ABC News asked. He was known for bipartisanship — would he have done it differently were he running things in the House?
"Look, that’s above my pay grade," LaHood said. "It is what it is, and the important thing is we’ve got a bill and people are going to go to work."
LaHood said that he thought Republicans such as Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich., and others have been involved in these final negotiations, during the conference process.