Need to see bill before decision to vote

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Monday that he doesn’t believe lawmakers should have to decide whether they will vote in favor of a bipartisan $1.2 trillion infrastructure package before the bill text is even finalized.

“I think we need to see the bill before we decide whether or not to vote for it,” the Kentucky Republican told reporters. “I think that’s pretty easily understood.”

His comments come as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is slated to file cloture on the $1.2 trillion infrastructure package, which would tee up a procedural vote on the unfinished legislation for Wednesday.

Schumer’s decision to ramp up pressure on negotiators to finalize the package has sparked backlash from GOP lawmakers, who argue they should not have to abide by “arbitrary deadlines.”

“We shouldn’t have an arbitrary deadline of Wednesday,” Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) said on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday. “We should bring the legislation forward when it’s ready.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is slated to file cloture on the $1.2 trillion infrastructure package.
REUTERS/Tom Brenner/File Photo

And Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) cast doubt on their ability to have the bill text by Wednesday, telling reporters there is “no way” they complete the bill by midweek.

Schumer’s push for a vote this week comes as he attempts to garner a consensus within his caucus on a $3.5 trillion budget, which will allow Democrats to pass a sweeping companion bill using the reconciliation process.

Negotiations on the bipartisan package — being led by Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) and Portman — are slated to continue on Monday evening as they continue to attempt to finalize details.

A construction crew works on repairing a large sink hole, Thursday, July 15, 2021, on 89th Street on the Upper East Side of New York
A construction crew works on repairing a large sink hole, Thursday, July 15, 2021, on 89th Street on the Upper East Side of New York.
AP Photo/Mary Altaffer

The bipartisan bill is expected to provide $579 billion in new spending, with $300 billion slated to go toward transportation and an additional $250 billion which would go toward broadband, power and water infrastructure. But as the scheduled vote inches closer, a lack of consensus over pay-fors remains, with the group opting to discard plans to offset a significant portion of the costs by strengthening IRS enforcement.

GOP critics of the provision have raised concerns over expanding the IRS’s powers.

“In terms of IRS reform, or IRS tax gap, which is what was in the original proposal, that will no longer be in our proposal. It will be in the larger reconciliation bill, we are told. And that’s the two tracks here,” Portman said on CNN Sunday.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has sparked backlash from Republican lawmakers.
Ron Adar / M10s / MEGA

Portman noted that Republican lawmakers have received pushback on the provision, which factored into their decision not to back the language.

“Well, one reason it’s not part of the proposal is that we did have pushback,” he continued.

“Another reason is that we found out that the Democrats were going to put a proposal into the reconciliation package, which was not just similar to the one we had, but with a lot more IRS enforcement.”

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