The Senate voted Friday to move the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure deal forward to the next step.
In a 66-28 vote on a motion to proceed, the Senate opened the deal up to the amendment process and potential changes. Sixteen Republicans voted alongside the 50 Senate Democrats.
While the text of the bill has yet to be revealed, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer hopes to have it passed before the August recess, starting Aug. 9. Any changes and amendment votes for the bill are expected to happen over the weekend.
“Given the bipartisan nature of the bill, the Senate should be able to process this legislation rather quickly,” Schumer said Friday ahead of the vote. “We may need the weekend, we may vote on several amendments, but with the cooperation of our Republican colleagues I believe we can finish the bipartisan infrastructure bill in a matter of days.”
Shortly before the vote, former President Donald Trump blasted the infrastructure package as a “carrot” for a “massive socialist expansion” that would fool Republicans into “caving” to Democrats.
The 45th commander-in-chief advised Republicans not to support the $1.2 trillion compromise package because House Democrats had tied the bill to the guaranteed passage of a $3.5 trillion budget deal.
“The RINOs in the Senate are delivering a big win by caving to the Radical Democrats on infrastructure. Once they pass this bill out of the Senate, it will sit in the House until they get steamrolled by the biggest government expansion in a generation,” Trump began, arguing that the second package would lead to “[t]ax increases on everyone, government run health care, more government run schools, amnesty for illegal immigrants, MASKS, and many more terrible socialist programs.”
“Nancy Pelosi has said NO INFRASTRUCTURE until they get everything else,” he added, referencing the House speaker’s ultimatum that she would sink the smaller bill if the Senate did not pass her larger bill through reconciliation.
Budget reconciliation allows the majority party to bypass the legislative filibuster, the Senate rule requiring 60 members to end debate on most topics and move forward to a vote.
The Senate is split 50-50 between Republicans and Democrats, though Vice President Kamala Harris, as Senate president, has a tie-breaking vote. Still, 51 votes are not enough under current rules to break through the filibuster.
Biden split his infrastructure package, a centerpiece of his post-COVID agenda, into two parts for Congress to pass.
The first, the “American Jobs Plan,” focused on hard infrastructure, while the second, the “American Families Plan,” is aimed at funding Democrats’ domestic policy platform.
Republicans took issue with the second package, which they argue stretches the definition of infrastructure. The first package, meanwhile, took a backseat to a bipartisan deal brokered in the Senate.
The GOP negotiators on the compromise agreement said Wednesday that they reached an agreement on the details of a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill — salvaging a blueprint brokered last month by Biden.
The Senate then voted 67-32 to advance debate on the critical legislation later that evening.
Pelosi has thrown cold water on the idea of the House passing the compromise package if the Senate did not take up the “Families Plan” legislation, which would only pass through reconciliation.
“Infrastructure is just a ‘carrot’ for a massive socialist expansion,” Trump argued of the smaller bill before bemoaning why some on the right, who he referred to as Republicans “in name only,” would continue to support this legislative effort.
“Why are RINOs so desperate to push bad, Radical Leftist policies? And at the same time give a big win to the Democrats. They will be forced to give up some of the incredible tax cuts gotten during the Trump Administration, one of its many hallmarks,” he warned.
“This is bad legislation and politically irresponsible. The Democrats will use it to show they can get anything they want from the Republicans.”
Trump was not the only one politician to take issue with the Senate’s bipartisan deal.
House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), a Pelosi ally responsible for marking up Biden’s original “American Jobs Plan” in the event that the bipartisan deal fell through, called the Senate legislation complete “crap” during a private meeting Tuesday, according to two Democrats who attended the session and spoke on condition of anonymity.
He also referred to the Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) as one of the “Republicans” crafting the agreement.
Asked by Politico immediately after the heated meeting to discuss his feelings on the deal, DeFazio, who maintains his support for the partisan, $2.3 trillion hard infrastructure deal, didn’t hold back.
“I could give a damn about the White House. We’re an independent branch of government,” he told the outlet. “They cut this deal. I didn’t sign off on it.”
With Post wires