Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer predicted that a vote on the proposed $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package could come “in a matter of days,” as lawmakers continued to tweak the plan during a rare Sunday session.
Schumer (D-NY), speaking on the Senate floor, said the text was “being finalized imminently” and that the Senate could soon begin voting on amendments, with a final vote on the bill “in a matter of days.”
Once the infrastructure bill is approved by the Senate, Schumer said, he would move to have the chamber pass a proposed $3.5 trillion overall spending plan before its members leave for August recess. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said the Senate must pass both before bills she’s take up infrastructure.
“Despite some bumps in the road, always expected on two bills as large and comprehensive as these, we remain firmly on track to achieve our two-track goal,” Schumer said.
Negotiations hit a speedbump Saturday because the text of the massive infrastructure bill — a Biden administration priority – was still unwritten. But Schumer kept the senators in the Capital to continue working on it.
The measure passed a couple of procedural hurdles last week, and Republican supporters and key negotiators anticipated that the GOP’s backing would continue.
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), one of the senators involved in the talks, said on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday that she expects a vote this week.
“We really are just about finished,” Collins said, adding that “large parts of the text have been shared with Senate offices.
“I think we will be able to lay down the bill later today and begin perhaps consideration of some amendments. My hope is that we’ll finish the bill by the end of the week.”
Asked if enough Republicans will support the bill to allow overcome the 60-vote filibuster threshold, Collins said, “I believe [they] will.
“Every senator can look at bridges and roads, the need for more broadband, waterways in their states, seaports, airports and see the benefits, the very concrete benefits — no pun intended — of this legislation,” she said.
The fate of the spending bill is less certain.
Schumer wants to pass the infrastructure bill by a bipartisan effort but will move the $3.5 trillion spending package through reconciliation, a procedural move that allows the narrowly divided 50-50 Senate to pass legislation by a simple majority. Vice President Kamala Harris can cast the deciding vote if necessary.
Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia — a key Democratic vote in the Senate — said there are no guarantees that reconciliation will be successful because of lingering questions about how the bill, which includes spending on social programs, will be paid for.
“I can’t really guarantee anybody. I have not guaranteed anybody on any of these pieces of legislation,” Manchin said on CNN.
“Would we like to do more? Yes, you can do what you can pay for. This is paid for. Our infrastructure bill is all paid for,” he said.
“On the other [bill], as far as reconciliation goes, it should be looked at the same,” he said. “That’s why I said we’re going to get the budget resolution. Let’s start the process and then see where it goes.”
Manchin added that the packages should be considered individually.
“On that, we should just work in good faith and be honest with each other, so no one’s misled in any way, shape or form, and there should be no quid pro quo: ‘You do this, I will do this,’ ” Manchin said.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Sunday reiterated the Democrats’ position of linking both bills.
“We have to hold on to that bargain. If there is not a reconciliation bill in the House, and if the Senate does not pass the reconciliation bill, we will uphold our end of the bargain and not pass the bipartisan bill until we get all of these investments in,” she said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
With Post Wires