Senator Rob Portman, R-Ohio, speaks to reporters prior to the Senate Political Luncheon in the Capitol on June 5, 2018.
Tom Williams | CQ call | Getty Images
Republicans will vote against an important procedural vote on Wednesday to continue the Senate debate on the $ 1.2 trillion infrastructure bill, GOP lead negotiator Rob Portman told CNBC on Wednesday.
“We’re just not ready,” said the Ohio senator in a Squawk Box interview.
“The bill is still under negotiation,” Portman said, adding that Republicans have been warning for days that “there is no way we can get this thing together,” in time for Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.
“So we’re going to vote no,” Portman said. “We just want time to get it right.”
He predicted that Republicans could support the vote if it is postponed to Monday.
A spokesman for Schumer’s office did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request to comment on Portman’s remarks.
Schumer and other Democratic leaders, with the support of President Joe Biden, are trying to advance the bipartisan infrastructure bill along with a $ 3.5 trillion budget resolution that is unlikely to receive Republican support.
The bipartisan plan, which would fund a nationwide upgrade of physical infrastructure systems like bridges and waterways, would include new expenditures of $ 579 billion above the congressional base and cost $ 1.2 trillion over eight years.
The budget decision, meanwhile, would pour federal funds into a number of issues, including climate change and health care.
Faced with a tough legislative calendar to accomplish this “two-pronged” effort, Schumer has increased pressure on the senatorial group negotiating the infrastructure bill to finalize the bill.
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Schumer pushed the legislative process forward on Monday evening – although the draft law has not yet been written – by submitting a motion to continue a rough draft into which he can later swap the infrastructure text.
Schumer on Tuesday rejected calls by Republicans to slow the process.
The vote on Wednesday, he said in the Senate, was “not an attempt to disturb anyone”, but “just a signal that the Senate is ready to start the process”.
Schumer needs the support of 60 senators in a chamber split 50:50 between Republicans and Democrats.
Portman’s remarks on CNBC suggest that Schumer is unlikely to hit that threshold.
Schumer said Tuesday that if it failed, Republicans would “deny the Senate the opportunity to consider the bipartisan amendment.”
“To get the bill ready, we’ll have to agree to start,” he said.