Reuters – U.S. Senate Majority leader Chuck Schumer announced Thursday he would set up an initial procedural floor vote on a $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill for next Wednesday, apparently to jump-start the attempt though the bill’s text has not appeared.
Legislators from both parties are working to reach consensus on details of the measure, which is expected to fund roads, bridges and other “hard” infrastructure and is backed by President Joe Biden.
“All parties involved in the bipartisan infrastructure bill talks must now finalize their agreement so that the Senate can begin considering that legislation next week,” Schumer, a Democrat, said on the Senate floor.
Sixty votes will be needed to advance the measure next Wednesday, which means at least 10 Republicans will have to join all the Democrats in supporting the legislation in the Senate, which is divided 50-50 along party lines.
But first the working group of over 20 senators must resolve their own differences over how to fund the deal. One of them, Senator Mark Kelly, told Reuters Thursday that lawmakers are working against a Friday deadline to produce the text.
The moderate Democrat from Arizona, who said he is on one of several working groups aiming to hammer out different provisions of legislative text, said the effort has resolved some hurdles involving water resources, and he described remaining issues as “pretty straightforward.”
Schumer said he also wanted all Senate Democrats to agree by Wednesday to move forward on a larger, $3.5 trillion budget blueprint, which embraces climate measures and beefs up spending on social services.
Biden made the case for the sweeping $3.5 trillion initiative as well as the smaller bipartisan infrastructure bill on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, a day after leading Senate Democrats agreed on the $3.5 trillion blueprint.
But Republicans strongly oppose the larger spending plan, and not all Democrats have given their blessing to it either.
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell told Fox News on Thursday that all Republicans would vote “no” on the $3.5 trillion bill.
Democrats will need the support of all 50 of their senators – plus Vice President Kamala Harris’ tie-breaking vote – to pass the $3.5 trillion measure over Republican opposition in the 100-seat Senate, using a maneuver called reconciliation that gets around the chamber’s normal 60-vote threshold to pass legislation.
(Reporting by Susan Cornwell and David Morgan; Editing by Mark Heinrich)