Senate on Path for Vote on Infrastructure Bill This Week
(Bloomberg) -- The senators negotiating a $550 billion infrastructure package finished the text of their legislation Sunday, moving the Senate a crucial step closer to likely passage this week.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said the chamber would be ready to vote on the bipartisan bill “in a matter of days.”
The bipartisan group that negotiated the plan spent much of Sunday combing through the 2,701-page bill before it was presented to the full Senate.
“Neither side got everything they wanted,” Utah Senator Mitt Romney, a Republican member of the group, said of the negotiations.
After the Senate votes, final congressional action won’t come until after the House returns from a recess in September.
The bill would provide the biggest infusion of U.S. federal spending on infrastructure in decades. It includes about $110 billion in new spending for roads and bridges, $73 billion of electric grid upgrades, $66 billion for rail and Amtrak, and $65 billion for broadband expansion. It also provides $55 billion for clean drinking water and $39 billion for transit.
The bipartisan group had blown through several deadlines to finish the legislation amid last minute haggling over provisions on transit, broadband and water projects, among other issues.
Two of the senators involved in the negotiations, Republican Susan Collins of Maine and Democrat Joe Manchin of West Virginia, said Sunday they expected the legislation to have broad support in the Senate.
“We want to be done by Thursday. We want to move on,” Manchin said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” program.
Schumer said the Senate would immediately then turn to a budget resolution setting up a procedure known as reconciliation, which will allow Democrats to pass the bulk of President Joe Biden’s agenda without facing a filibuster by Republicans.
Schumer has committed to moving both the infrastructure bill and the budget resolution in tandem in order to keep the Democrats’ progressive and moderate wing in the House and Senate unified.
The budget framework, which will enable a later bill including spending on child care, education and paid leave as well as tax increases for the wealthy and corporations, would require all the Democratic votes in the Senate, where the parties have a 50-50 split and a tie-breaker in Vice President Kamala Harris. In the House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi can spare the loss of only three Democratic votes.
However, Manchin and Democratic Senator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona have expressed reservations about the $3.5 trillion price tag currently being discussed, while progressives including New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez warns that she and her allies have enough votes to sink the infrastructure plan if their priorities aren’t addressed in the budget package.
Pelosi has said she won’t bring the bipartisan infrastructure bill to the floor until the Senate acts on the follow-on Democratic budget package.
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