WASHINGTON (AP) – The Senate put forward a roughly $ 1 trillion infrastructure plan on Friday with a bipartisan group of senators helping it overcome an additional hurdle and prepare to see if the support can hold up over the course of the next few days of debate and effort to change it.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., said the chamber should be able to deal with the legislation quickly given bipartisan support. But as the day dragged into the evening, the full text of what promises to be a massive bill was not complete by the time lawmakers adjourned.
Senators will return for a rare sitting on Saturday as they embark on a long process.
“We may need the weekend, we can vote on multiple amendments, but with the cooperation of our fellow Republican, I think we can complete the bipartisan infrastructure bill in a matter of days,” Schumer said.
But Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, predicted, “It’s going to be a chore. ”
The effort started randomly on Friday. Shortly after the Senate began procedural voting, he was arrested. Cornyn said the reason was that part of the text of the bill was not in line with the deal between negotiators. The rare bipartisan work tests the ability of senators to trust each other.
Moments later, voting resumed and the effort to proceed with consideration of the bill passed by a vote of 66-28.
Earlier this week, 17 GOP senators joined with all Democrats in voting to start the debate, kicking off what will be a multi-day process to consider the bill. That support was largely held on Friday with Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky again voting yes to move the process forward.
But whether the number of Republican senators willing to embrace a key part of President Joe Biden’s platform increases or decreases in the coming days, that will determine whether the issue of the president’s signature can cross the finish line.
Cornyn said he expects Schumer to allow all senators the opportunity to shape the bill and allow amendments from members of both political parties.
“I was disappointed that Senator Schumer saw fit to try to force us to vote on a bill that does not exist in its entirety, but I hope we can now put the brakes on a bit and take the time. and the care to weigh the benefits and costs of this legislation, ”said Cornyn.
Schumer had hoped to present the text of the bill later today with supporters aiming to complete the action before leaving for the August vacation. Senators Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., Released a statement saying they were close to finalizing the legislation and hoped to release it later today.
But Friday came and left without final papers which are now due on Saturday.
“When the legislation is finalized and reflects the product of our group, we will release it together in accordance with the bipartisan way we have worked for the past four months,” the senators said.
The bipartisan plan is huge, with $ 550 billion in new spending over five years beyond typical highway and public works accounts. A draft circulating in Capitol Hill indicated that it could have more than 2,500 pages when it was presented. It is funded from funding sources that may not succeed with deficit hawks, including reallocating untapped COVID-19 relief aid and building on predicted future economic growth.
Major investments include $ 110 billion for roads and bridges, $ 39 billion for public transit and $ 66 billion for rail. There is also $ 55 billion for water and sanitation infrastructure as well as billions for airports, ports, broadband charging stations and electric vehicles.
The result will set the stage for the next debate on Biden’s much more ambitious $ 3.5 trillion spending program, a strictly partisan pursuit of large-scale programs and services, including child care, tax breaks and health care that touches almost every corner of American life. Republicans strongly oppose this bill, which would require a simple majority, and may attempt to stop both.
Across the Capitol, a bipartisan group of Senators and Representatives gathered to express support for the closer bipartisan infrastructure effort and to encourage House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to allow a quick vote after its adoption by the Senate. However, Pelosi said there would be no vote on the infrastructure bill unless the Senate also passes the more ambitious package.
“I am not asking Speaker Pelosi today to support the bill. I’m asking for something much more basic than that. I ask to give us a vote, ”said Rep. Dusty Johnson, RS.D. “Let’s vote. “
Rep. Josh Gottheimer, DN.J., also called for a stand-alone bipartisan vote because “that’s what the country wants.”