managing committee Republican Rejects an attempt to start a debate on the big infrastructure deal that a bipartisan group of senators brokered with the president Joe Biden But the pressure was mounting as supporters insisted they probably needed more time before another vote next week.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer DN.Y., had scheduled a procedural vote on Wednesday to advance negotiations that had dragged on for weeks. But Republicans mounted a filibuster, saying the bipartisan group still has some unresolved issues and the final details need to be reviewed. He sought a delay till Monday.
“We have made significant progress and are close to a final agreement,” said the bipartisan group of senators, 11 Republicans and 11 Democrats said in a joint statement after the vote. Senators said they were optimistic they could finish “in the coming days”.
The nearly $1 trillion measure over five years includes about $579 billion in new spending on roads, broadband and other public works projects – the first phase of Biden’s infrastructure agenda, followed by a sweeping $3.5 trillion from Democrats next month. Measures will be taken.
Biden’s top priority is at a critical juncture that tests his ability to build bipartisan cooperation in Washington and invest in the ideas of the White House, the nation’s ability to emerge from the COVID-19 crisis and accelerate economic growth. Capacity is important.
The president traveled to Ohio on Wednesday to promote his economic policies, calling his infrastructure agenda a “blue-collar blueprint for building the American economy.” He has said that Americans strongly support his plan.
At the LOVEBYLIFE town hall, Biden also talked about the benefits of a bipartisan structure, saying, “It’s a good thing and I think we’re going to get it done.” They’ll “fix that damn bridge of yours,” referencing the dangerously old Brent Spence Bridge across the Ohio River.
At another point, Biden was asked by a union electrician whether it was possible to bring Congress together to pass an infrastructure bill that would help replace the bridge to the region.
“The answer is, of course, affirmative, yes,” said the president.
The party-line vote prevented the bill from moving forward, 51–49, and fell far short of the 60 votes required under Senate rules. Schumer eventually changed his vote to “no,” a procedural move that would allow him to reconsider quickly.
The bipartisan group has worked days with Biden allies to strike a deal that would be the first phase of the president’s final package of $4 trillion-plus household outlays — not just for roads and bridges, but including child care. Foundations of everyday life, family tax breaks, education, and expanding Medicare to seniors.
The next steps are uncertain, but the bipartisan group says it is close to a deal and is expected to conclude soon.
“We are not voting today because we are not ready, but we are saying that we want to get this bill done as soon as possible,” said Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, a leader of the effort. “I think it will be Monday.”
At least 11 Republicans signed a letter to Schumer saying they would vote yes to proceed on Monday if some details about the package are ready.
Republican Sen. Todd Young of Indiana was among Republicans who signed the letter and said he was “cautiously optimistic” that they could reach a bipartisan deal.
Restless Democrats, facing a crowded calendar trying to nail down Joe Biden’s priorities, have yet said they are willing to wait if a deal is within reach.
“I’m willing to give it another chance next week,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn. “But we need to bite the fish or the bait.”
The bipartisan group was joined by two leaders of the House Problem Solving Caucus, Representative Josh Gottheimer, D.N.J., and Representative Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., for a private lunch before a vote by a bipartisan. The group generally supports the effort.
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 Wednesday’s vote was no different from other times the Senate sought to get the ball on the debate and “didn’t have a deadline to work out every last detail.”
But Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky encouraged Republicans to vote against it, calling 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.
Biden has been in contact with both Democrats and Republicans for several days, and White House press secretary Jen Psaki, traveling with the president on Air Force One on Wednesday, said the administration was “encouraged.”
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 working round-the-clock to reach an agreement to pay for his package. Is working, with dashed ideas to boost the federal gas tax or strengthen the IRS to go after tax scruples.
Instead, senators in the bipartisan group are considering rolling back a Trump-era rule on pharmaceutical exemptions that could bring in $170 billion, some of which could be used for infrastructure. They are targeting unspent COVID-19 relief aid to health care providers and making modest cuts to a wide range of federal benefits programs, according to two people familiar with the talks who described the details on condition of anonymity.
Senators are still negotiating a public transit fund. In general, spending from the Federal Highway Trust Fund has followed a formula of 80% for highways and 20% for transit. Some Republicans are concerned that the ratio will change to 82%-18% under the bipartisan bill, said Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah.
“There’s a huge number involved,” Romney said.
But Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, said: “They don’t have a lot of sentiment for public transportation on their side. They don’t really believe in the word ‘public.'”
Ten Republicans in an equally divided Senate would be required to join all 50 Democrats to reach the 60-vote threshold needed to advance the bill before a filibuster for formal consideration.
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.
Democrats expect to show progress on that bill before lawmakers leave Washington for their recess in August.
Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is working to keep restless House Democrats in line as they grow impatient with the sluggish Senate pace.
Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, sent a letter with 30 Democrats on the panel warning that the Senate’s proposal was inadequate and that House lawmakers would be at the negotiating table for any finals. want a seat. Product.
Associated Press writers Alan Fram, Darlene Superville and Josh Bock contributed to this report.