by Lisa Mascaro and Kevin Freaking | The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — Senate Republicans expected Wednesday to reject an attempt to start debate on a bipartisan infrastructure deal that senators brokered with President Joe Biden, though supporters expect he will get a deal in the coming days. Will get more chance.
Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer scheduled a procedural vote which he described as a step to “get the ball rolling” as talks progress. But Republican senators say they want to see an analysis of the bill’s cost, how it is paid and a more detailed legislative text first.
The measure is projected to cost about $1 trillion over five years, up from previously expected levels of about $579 billion — the first phase of Biden’s larger infrastructure agenda, followed by $3.5 billion. trillion second measure will be taken.
“We’ve told them we’re not ready, so we won’t vote, but we’ll be ready by the end of this week. And that’s what we’ve always thought,” said Sen. Rob Portman, a key negotiator, during an interview on CNBC. , R-Ohio said. “We still have four or five issues that we are discussing with the White House and negotiating with our Democratic allies.”
Senators on the Republican side are asking for the vote to be delayed, and Portman confirmed she sent Schumer a letter. It said the 11 Republican signatories would support moving forward with a yes vote on Monday, if some details about the package are ready.
Six months after Biden took office, the promise of his signature “Build Back Better” campaign is at a crucial moment that will test his hopes for a new era of bipartisan cooperation in Washington.
White House aides and a bipartisan group of senators have sought to work out the deal privately from Sunday, which will be the first phase of a final $4 trillion-plus package of domestic outlays — not just for roads and bridges, but Everyday life for the foundation, including childcare, family tax breaks, education and expansion of Medicare for seniors.
Biden, who traveled to Ohio on Wednesday to advance his economic policies, is calling his infrastructure agenda a “blue-collar blueprint for building the American economy.” He has said that Americans are strongly in support of his plan.
However, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell has said that big spending is “the last thing American families want.”
The next steps are uncertain, and the bipartisan group was walking privately for lunch before Wednesday’s vote, joined by two leaders of the House’s Problem Solver Caucus, a bipartisan group that generally supports the efforts of senators. was.
Schumer said the senators are in the fourth week of talks after reaching an agreement with the White House on a comprehensive framework for infrastructure spending. He said the vote is not a deadline to work out every detail.
“My colleagues are well aware that we often agree to move forward with debate on issues before we even have the text,” Schumer said. “We’ve done it twice already this year.”
McConnell of Kentucky called the vote a “stunt” that would fail, but stressed that senators were “still negotiating in good faith across the aisle.”
“Around here, we usually write bills before we vote on them,” he said.
A core group of Republicans are interested in pursuing a more modest package of traditional highway and public works projects, about $600 billion in new funding, and say they have yet to negotiate with their Democratic allies and the White House. Need time
Republican Sen. Todd Young of Indiana was among Republicans who signed the letter calling for the delay, saying he was “cautiously optimistic” that they could reach a bipartisan deal.
Senators from the bipartisan group emerged excited from another late-night negotiating session with Biden aides at the Capitol on Tuesday, saying a deal was within reach and a failed vote on Wednesday would not be the end of the road.
Republican Senator Bill Cassidy of Louisiana said Wednesday’s test could be useful to help “advance and speed up” the vote process.
“We’re very close,” said Democratic Sen. John Tester of Montana.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday that Biden has been in contact with both Democrats and Republicans for several days and will continue to have access until he has both on his desk to sign into law.
While Biden has proposed to pay for his proposals with tax increases on corporations and wealthy Americans who earn more than $400,000 a year, the bipartisan group is trying to figure out a compromise way to pay for his package. Working hours, for which ideas have been dashed. Promote the payment of gas tax drivers at the pump or strengthen the Internal Revenue Service to go after tax scoffles.
Instead, senators in the bipartisan group were considering rolling back a Trump-era rule on pharmaceutical exemptions, which could bring in the roughly $170 billion used for infrastructure. They were still bargaining on public transportation funding.
An evenly divided Senate would require 10 Republicans to join all 50 Democrats, reaching the 60-vote threshold needed to push the bill past a filibuster for formal consideration. Schumer may later set up another vote to move forward on the bill.
Many Republicans are wary of going ahead with the first, relatively thin package, fearing it will pave the way for a broader $3.5 trillion effort Democrats are preparing to pass on their own under special budget rules that only 51 votes are required. Vice President Kamala Harris may break a tie.
Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is working to keep restless liberal Democrats in her chamber, as rank-and-file lawmakers grow impatient with the sluggish Senate pace.
“Time is running out, I want to do this work,” Representative Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash, chair of the Congress Progressive Caucus, told reporters on Tuesday.
Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, dismissed the Senate’s bipartisan effort as inadequate. He wants more robust spending on the transportation elements and said, “We really want the opportunity to negotiate.”
Democrats expect to show progress on that bill before lawmakers leave Washington for their recess in August.