Key Republicans Say They’re Ready to Take Up an Infrastructure Deal
Leading Republican senators said on Wednesday they had resolved the biggest sticking points in a final deal with the White House and Democrats on a sweeping infrastructure bill, and plan to vote to allow the package to move forward, paving the way for action on a crucial part of President Biden’s agenda.
“We now have an agreement on the main issues and are ready to move forward,” said Sen. Rob Portman, Republican of Ohio and his party’s chief negotiator in bipartisan infrastructure measurement talks .
The emerging deal was to fill the details of a plan the group triumphantly announced to the White House in late June, but spent weeks haggling as they scrambled to translate it into legislation while keeping their fragile coalition together.
While details are not immediately available, the bill under discussion would inject the largest injection of federal funds in more than a decade into the country’s aging public works system.
Republicans blocked the Senate from moving forward with the plan last week, saying too many issues remained unresolved. Comments from Mr Portman and those of fellow Republicans in the group, who spoke after meeting with Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the minority leader, suggested they had removed the biggest hurdles to a deal.
It was not yet clear whether enough Republicans would join the top five negotiators to move the deal forward. And Senate Democrats, including at least one key committee chair, said they plan to wait for more information at a lunch meeting to discuss the proposal before making a decision.
“We’ll see soon,” said Senator Mark Warner, Democrat of Virginia, another of the plan’s negotiators.
Earlier Wednesday, Senator Chuck Schumer, New York Democrat and majority leader, expressed optimism about the prospect of finalizing a deal, and said a second test vote on the measure could take place as early as Wednesday evening. .
If the compromise holds, Democrats would have to maneuver it through the equally divided Senate over Republican filibustering, which would require the support of all 50 Democrats and Independents and at least 10 Republicans. It could take at least a week, especially if Republicans who oppose it choose to slow the process down.
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