Senate Republicans on Wednesday blocked debate over a bipartisan infrastructure package that includes $ 1.1 trillion in spending to renovate the country’s roads, bridges and waterways.
The procedural vote to move the bill forward was 49-51, with all Republicans opposed. It took 60 votes to pass. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (DN.Y.) also voted no in a procedural move that will allow him to summon him again for a vote.
GOP senators have said bipartisan negotiators are expected to reach a final agreement on the legislation and how spending is to be funded before the Senate moves to consider the measure. They urged Schumer to postpone the vote until next week to give negotiators more time.
“This stunt is doomed to failure. The Democratic leader will be free to change his vote and reconsider whenever a bipartisan product actually exists, ”Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) Said in a speech before the vote.
Schumer said Wednesday’s vote was simply about whether to begin consideration of a bill. He added that he could edit the measure later with the actual text when he is ready.
The bipartisan group of 20 Senators – 10 Republicans and 10 Democrats has been negotiating the bill for months. While they have made progress this week, they have yet to come to an agreement on how to pay in full for it, a perennial problem amid the infrastructure debate in Washington.
Meanwhile, Democrats face a looming August hiatus that could derail their plans to pass both the bipartisan infrastructure bill and a separate 3,500 ‘human’ infrastructure package. billions of dollars. They also have a bunch of other legislative business to deal with when they return to Washington in September. The legislative calendar crisis is part of the reason why Schumer decided to relaunch the process this week by scheduling Wednesday’s vote before a final deal is reached.
“I fully intend to pass the two major infrastructure packages – the bipartite infrastructure framework and a budget resolution with reconciliation instructions – before leaving for the August recess,” Schumer said on Wednesday. . “This is the program I established at the end of June. This is the schedule that I intend to respect.
However, it is not clear whether Schumer has the support of all of his members to advance the $ 3.5 trillion measure, especially with the unfinished bipartisan bill. The larger package includes money for housing, nutrition, climate, health care, immigration and child care.
Calling all HuffPost superfans!
Sign up to become a founding member and help shape the next chapter of HuffPost