Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) speaks after the Democrats lunch on Capitol Hill in Washington, the United States, on July 27, 2021.
Joshua Roberts | Reuters
A $ 1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill crept through the Senate Wednesday as Majority Leader Chuck Schumer promised to postpone the chamber’s break until the end in August.
The Senate will resume voting on “several” changes to the plan on Wednesday afternoon, the New York Democrat said. Schumer plans to pass final law this week before starting the process for Democrats to approve a separate $ 3.5 trillion investment in social programs and climate action.
The Senate is due to take its one-month break on Monday. By then, the Chamber is unlikely to approve both the infrastructure plan and a budget resolution – which will allow Democrats to pass their spending plan without a Republican vote.
Schumer said Tuesday “the Senate will stay here until we finish our work” on both measures. Republicans have called for a slower process of debate and amendment to the bill: Minority leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Said he would have blocked a possible attempt by Schumer to end the debate on the bill had he tried the Step to do on Tuesday.
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Senator Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat and one of the bill’s negotiators, told NBC News Wednesday that he believes the amendment process could end as early as Thursday night. Senator Tom Carper, a Delaware Democrat who chaired the debate, told NBC he would not rush to shut down the change process.
“I don’t think it’s going to be too quick to end the debate,” he said on Wednesday. “We’re giving people the opportunity to offer their amendments and hopefully we’ll continue with the kind of spirit we’ve already shown.”
Barring a GOP upheaval, the bill appears to be passed with more than the 60 votes required for approval. Democrats and GOP supporters of the proposal call it an overdue investment in transportation, broadband and utilities that will shake up the economy as the country tries to get out of the coronavirus pandemic.
It includes $ 550 billion in new spending on roads, bridges, airports, ports, electric vehicle charging stations, internet, water systems, and electricity, among other things.
Many Democrats have pushed for their second spending plan to strengthen households through expanding childcare, paid vacation, education and health care. Legislators in the party have also argued that the infrastructure plan is not doing enough to curb emissions and prepare buildings and transportation systems for the effects of climate change.
As they prepare to pass the Infrastructure Bill with the Democrats, Republicans have railed against the proposed $ 3.5 trillion in new spending. McConnell called it “ruthless” on Tuesday.
No matter how fast the Senate moves this week, none of the plans will land on President Joe Biden’s desk for at least a month and a half. The house left for its August break and will not return until September 20th.
To keep skeptical centrists and progressives on board with either item on her party’s agenda, House spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi, D-California, has announced that she will not adopt the infrastructure or budgetary vote laws until the Senate passes both of them.
A single move would sink the Democrats’ bill in the Senate, which will be split 50-50 by party. If only a handful of Democrats in the House vote against it, it could fail too.
The Democrats aim to get both bills on Biden’s desk before Washington focuses on the midterm elections early next year.
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