Politics

Schumer says Senate could vote on advancing infrastructure bill tonight

Washington — Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said he could call a procedural vote on advancing a bipartisan infrastructure package as early as Wednesday evening, as negotiators rush to finalize details of the bill that includes some of President Biden’s key domestic priorities. 

“With respect to infrastructure, senators continue to make good progress on both tracks of legislation,” Schumer said on the Senate floor Wednesday morning. “Members should be prepared to vote again on cloture on the motion to proceed to the bipartisan infrastructure bill as early as tonight.”

The $1.2 trillion proposal, which is expected to include nearly $600 billion in new spending, would prioritize funding for physical infrastructure, such as roads, bridges and broadband internet. 

Negotiations appeared to be in danger of collapsing earlier this week after Democratic negotiators sent a “global offer” to Republicans seeking to resolve some outstanding issues. That offer was rebuffed by Republican negotiators. 

A vote to advance the measure would require 60 votes, meaning 10 Republicans would have to join all Democrats in voting to begin debate. Senate Democrats plan to meet Wednesday afternoon to discuss infrastructure, an aide told CBS News.

Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, a member of the bipartisan negotiating group, said she plans to vote to advance to debate over the bipartisan infrastructure package.

“I think that there is a strong solid number of folks on both sides of the aisle that want to get onto an infrastructure package,” Murkowski told reporters Wednesday.

The core group of senators negotiating the package, which includes five Democrats and five Republicans, agreed to a framework with President Biden over a month ago. In the weeks since Mr. Biden and the bipartisan group announced that agreement, White House officials and the bipartisan group have been meeting to hash out details on how to pay for the proposal. In the last few days, the group worked to resolve issues regarding the nation’s public transit system and broadband infrastructure.

Last week, Schumer called an earlier procedural vote to begin debate over the bill, but Senate Republicans blocked the measure, saying they would not begin debate without the final legislative text. Schumer set the vote to encourage negotiators to reach a deal over how to fund the measure.

The Democratic leader has insisted that the Senate must pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill and a $3.5 trillion budget resolution, which would start the reconciliation process on a separate package, before the Senate recesses in August. The budget resolution is a blueprint for Democrats to pass a major portion of Mr. Biden’s agenda without Republican support, and it is expected to include funding to combat climate change, expand Medicare and potentially reform the nation’s immigration system. 

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