The Senate rushes to complete its remaining work on the trillion-dollar bipartisan infrastructure package over the weekend as Democrats seek to tackle other key priorities like the budget deal in a ambitious push ahead of the looming vacation.
After an unsuccessful and hours-long attempt to conclude the infrastructure bill on Thursday evening, the upper house will meet again on Saturday for a pivotal vote in hopes of moving to final adoption as early as this weekend. Lawmakers are eager to finish work on a bill with $ 550 billion in new infrastructure spending so they can leave for a month-long hiatus. But the Senate took a break on Friday as many members turned out to attend the funeral of former GOP Senator Mike Enzi in Wyoming.
But physical infrastructure is not the only legislative effort the Senate will undertake in the final days. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York has pledged to also hold a vote – after the bipartisan bill but before lawmakers return home – on the US $ 3.5 trillion budget resolution. Democrats which includes health care, education and family programs. And while no deal has materialized, Democrats are also planning to vote on an electoral reform bill after their landmark legislation was blocked in the Senate, according to the Washington Post.
Schumer has yet to set the exact timing of the vote for the rest of his party’s priorities, but he has indicated that the Senate will complete the bipartisan bill within days. He noted that the upper house has already considered 22 amendments and is open to considering more, but the Democratic leader has also made it clear that he intends to work out all details imminently.
“We have been trying to vote on amendments all day, but have encountered a lot of objections from the other side,” Schumer said Thursday evening, shortly before the Senate rises until the weekend. “However, we really want to finish this important bill, so we will meet again on Saturday at noon to vote on closure, and then we will follow the regular order to complete the bill.”
When the Senate meets on Saturday afternoon, lawmakers will take at least one procedural vote. The timing of any further votes was not clear until late Friday afternoon, but it is possible that they will also be resumed on Saturday – including the potential for a final vote.
To end debate on the bill, the bipartisan group will need to cross the 60-vote threshold and overcome a potential obstruction. The 50 Democrats will need the support of at least 10 Republicans. In previous procedural votes, Democrats were joined by 17 Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky – although future support is not guaranteed.
While there appear to be enough votes at the moment, some Republican support could wane, particularly after a cost analysis by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimated that the bipartisan bill will add around $ 256 billion in federal deficit over 10 years. Many members – and mostly Republicans – wanted the legislation to be fully paid for, but the bill’s funding mechanisms cover just over half of new spending.
Based on the previous votes, the bipartisan group can afford to lose seven GOP votes while reaching the final vote, which then only needs a simple majority.
When it comes to passing the Democrats’ bill later, the party will only need 51 votes as it uses the budget reconciliation process, which lowers the 60-vote threshold for government bills. budget related law. No Republican backs the much bigger bill, but Democrats can push it to the finish line without them – although that also requires the difficult task of securing consistent party support and no defection.
Once both bills are approved by the Senate – likely by next week – the House will take center stage in the fight for physical and human infrastructure. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California reiterated on Friday that she would not pass the bipartisan bill unless the Senate sends both bills at the same time.
“Anything you can achieve in a bipartisan way – well done, we salute it, we applaud it, we hope it passes soon,” Pelosi said at his press conference. “But at the same time, we are not going ahead and leaving people behind.”
When asked if the House could be called back soon after the recess to consider the two bills, Pelosi would not offer a potential new timeline for his chamber if the Senate sends the bills before lawmakers return. in Washington at the end of September.
âWell, let’s see what happens,â she said. “I said we were going to do it when we can do it all.”