Leading GOP Negotiators on Bipartisan Infrastructure Legislation, LR, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME ) and Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) speak to reporters after meeting privately with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) in the U.S. Capitol on July 28, 2021 in Washington, DC.
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Key Senators announced Wednesday that they had reached a bipartisan infrastructure deal and launched a potential vote to move the plan forward within hours while Majority Leader Chuck Schumer rushes to get it through the chamber.
“We now have an agreement on the most important issues,” said Ohio Senator Rob Portman, the chief GOP negotiator. “We are ready to move forward.”
The Democrat who leads her party’s infrastructure efforts, Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema, also said “we have a deal” that “closed the majority” of the law, according to NBC News. She said she spoke to President Joe Biden, who is “excited to be moving this forward”.
Biden later told reporters he was “confident” about the deal.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) speaks to reporters after the Senate Democrats’ weekly political lunch at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, June 15, 2021.
Evelyn Hockstein | Reuters
Schumer, DN.Y., said he hoped to hold a procedural vote Wednesday evening to move the plan forward. The move requires 60 votes to move forward, or 10 Republicans if all 50 members of the Democratic Group support it.
“I think we have the votes for that,” said Schumer.
Four other Republicans – Sens. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Mitt Romney of Utah – joined Portman in announcing the deal after meeting with Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, R- Ky had met.
McConnell gave the move a big boost late Wednesday when he said he would vote for the law to go ahead. All in all, at least 10 Republicans are expected to vote to move the bill forward, according to Senator John Thune, the minority whip.
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Six other Republican Senators, Richard Burr from North Carolina, Lindsey Graham from South Carolina, Jerry Moran from Kansas, Mike Rounds from South Dakota, Thom Tillis from North Carolina, and Todd Young from Indiana supported the framework last month. You and a handful of other GOP lawmakers will determine whether the bill moves forward in the Senate.
The agreement on infrastructure legislation follows disputes over issues such as transit financing, which prevented an agreement for days. The scramble threatened to derail a core piece of Biden’s agenda.
Senators “continue to make good progress” on both the bipartisan bill and the Democrats’ separate plan to invest $ 3.5 trillion in welfare programs, Schumer said Wednesday. Democrats say both packages will boost the economy and provide households with a stronger safety net.
The infrastructure plan was expected to invest $ 550 billion in new money in transportation, broadband and utilities – up from $ 579 billion in the original framework announced last month. According to a White House leaflet, it includes:
- $ 110 billion for roads, bridges, and major transportation projects
- $ 73 billion for power infrastructure
- $ 66 billion for passenger and freight transport
- $ 65 billion for broadband
- $ 55 billion for clean drinking water
- $ 39 billion for public transportation
- $ 25 billion for airports for
- $ 21 billion for environmental remediation
- $ 17 billion for ports
- $ 11 billion for road safety
- $ 7.5 billion for electric vehicle infrastructure
- $ 5 billion for zero or low emission buses
- $ 1 billion to redesign or demolish infrastructure that divided communities
The White House said the bill will be paid through reallocation of unspent coronavirus aids, along with “targeted corporate user fees,” increased “tax enforcement on cryptocurrencies,” and the economic growth generated by the investments. It was unclear how these tools worked or how much they would bring in.
Schumer failed to open a debate on the bipartisan plan last week. The Republican senators who worked with the Democrats and the White House on the bill voted against taking it forward as they tried to iron out differences.
The Democratic leader wants to pass the bipartisan plan and budget resolution that would kickstart his party’s legislation before the Senate leaves Washington on hiatus next month. Balancing the budget allows Democrats to pass their bill without a Republican vote.
The infrastructure effort was fueled by at least one typical pro-GOP stakeholder: the US Chamber of Commerce. The organization, which criticized Biden’s original plan to raise the corporate tax rate to fund the investment, said the proposal would boost the economy.
“We are now calling on the entire Senate to vote yes to the motion to close the review so that infrastructure legislation can be approved before the August recess,” said Jack Howard, senior vice president of government affairs for the chamber.
Transport Secretary Pete Buttigieg announced support from business and the workforce on Wednesday.
“I am pleased to see that we have achieved this because this will truly be a historic investment if we can get it signed through both chambers and on the president’s desk,” he told CNBC’s Closing Bell.
The bipartisan plan would take 60 votes to go through. It means that at least 10 Republicans would have to support it if all Democrats vote, or one more GOP Senator would have to vote for every Democratic apostasy of the Democrats.
Voting on the bill would be hard work for Democratic leaders in Congress. Both plans require you to keep different wings of your party on board while steering some Republicans’ efforts to sink them.
House spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi, D-California, has stressed that she will not take any action until the Senate passes both of them.
The $ 3.5 trillion Democratic plan is designed to invest in childcare, education, health care and efforts to curb climate change. Buttigieg claimed Wednesday that the White House regards the infrastructure and reconciliation plans as separate, even if Congress passes them together.
“They are separate packages, but the president supports both and expects to sign them both,” he said.
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