WASHINGTON -- Doubts whether the House Ways and Means Committee can muster enough votes to approve a 5-cents-a-gallon increase in the gas tax to partly finance the highway bill stirred talk yesterday among lawmakers about postponing the panel's vote on the measure.

The threat of delay and possible defeat of the measure also led some congressional aides to say House leaders might try to "sweeten the pot" to get undecided panel members to vote for the bill by allowing them to attach amendments, including one bond provision, to the measure.

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