But lawmakers have said that even with the expected failure of Wednesday’s vote, talks will continue to escalate over the next few days with the aim of once again trying to push the $ 1.2 trillion measure forward. ‘here early next week.
Two key Republicans – Utah Senator Mitt Romney and Ohio Senator Rob Portman – said they would oppose the procedural vote on Wednesday, calling for more time to negotiate the bill.
“I think that’s where everyone is,” Romney said.
“It won’t be done tonight,” Portman added on Tuesday.
Republican senators on Tuesday asked Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer in a letter to postpone the vote until they get a bipartisan deal and draft the bill. A Senate GOP source with direct knowledge of the matter told CNN the 50 Republicans would likely vote no on Wednesday, but expected all issues to be resolved by Monday, and at least 10 senators. Republicans would then support the advancement of the legislation.
Schumer, a Democrat from New York, held a test vote to open debate on the legislation, arguing that the vote would simply pave the way for consideration of the bill once negotiators finalize the deal.
At a private lunch on Tuesday, Schumer suggested he would be ready to hold another procedural vote if he failed on Wednesday, several Democratic sources said. But while most Democrats support Schumer’s strategy, one Democrat has stood out: West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin.
He urged Schumer to postpone the vote to Monday to allow more time for talks, according to a source familiar with the matter. Schumer said he and Manchin would speak up, another source said.
Manchin told CNN that Schumer was “committed” to pushing through the bill. Even if the vote fails, as expected, he believes Schumer will attempt to force another vote when talks are finalized.
The majority leader said if senators did not draft the bill by Thursday, he would bring forward a bill made up of relatively uncontroversial provisions, so the Senate could open a floor debate on a key priority for the Biden administration.
“I understand that both sides are working very hard to transform the bipartite infrastructure framework into final legislation, and they will continue to have more time to debate, amend and refine the bill once the Senate votes to address this crucial question, ”said Schumer. “But they’ve been working on this bipartisan framework for over a month now, and it’s time to open the debate. “
In June, the White House and a bipartisan Senate group agreed to $ 579 billion in new spending to build roads, bridges, railroads and airports, as well as water, electricity infrastructure projects. and broadband.
But lawmakers have since debated how to pay for the massive investment and made their job even more difficult by agreeing to remove a provision that would have boosted the Internal Revenue Service’s ability to collect unpaid taxes, which would have allowed to collect up to $ 100 billion. in government revenue. They also haven’t determined how much transit funding to provide, according to the Senate GOP source.
Republican Senate Whip John Thune predicted Wednesday’s vote would fail and all Republicans would stand together, and accused Schumer of making a major mistake in moving forward.
“It seems like a counterproductive move on his part,” Thune said.
Democrats have set up two-way negotiations to comprehensively address the country’s infrastructure needs. The first concerns the new bipartite plan. The second is a $ 3.5 trillion Democratic proposal that would include other priorities that many Republicans oppose, such as providing paid medical and family leave and potentially even overhauling the country’s immigration system.
But Manchin also opposed some of the Democrats-only provisions of the bill.
Manchin wouldn’t say Tuesday whether he would agree to move forward with the $ 3.5 trillion budget resolution. Schumer had asked for assurances that the 50 Democrats would be on board by Wednesday.
Manchin, however, said Schumer “never asked for this at all.” He told CNN he was “absolutely” concerned about provisions that would threaten fossil fuel production but had yet to see a “final version” of the bill.
CNN’s Lauren Fox contributed to this report.