Senate Plans Votes on Infrastructure Over the Weekend
Presidencies are ruled by events and priorities, and President Biden – propelled to power by historic events in 2020 – has stake his political fortune on passing a $ 1 trillion infrastructure bill intended to demonstrate competence, positive attitude and commitment to bipartisanship.
The capital halted on Friday close to fulfilling one of Mr Biden’s top legislative priorities for the first year to mark the passing of former Wyoming Senator Mike Enzi, a Tory who retired l last year and who died of injuries sustained in a bicycle accident. . He was 77 years old.
Kentucky Republican and Minority Leader Senator Mitch McConnell and several other senators traveled west for the funeral service on Friday at an auditorium on Enzi Drive in Mr. Enzi’s hometown of Gillette. The group planned to return to Washington for a series of expected votes this weekend.
After a series of wrangling Thursday, Senator Chuck Schumer, New York Democrat and majority leader, announced plans to hold a critical procedural vote on Saturday on the infrastructure measure, which includes a huge infusion of federal funds for the country’s aging public works. system.
About an hour after the Senate convened at 11 a.m. Eastern Time on Saturday, the chamber is expected to proceed to the first of two expected test votes, in which the support of at least 60 senators is needed to end debate. A final vote on the bill could take place as early as this afternoon, or senators could consider additional changes to the measure, postponing debate until next week and delaying the Senate summer recess.
Helpers from both parties said they believed the Senate measure would almost certainly pass at some point.
The question is whether Mr. McConnell or other Republicans will insist that the debate drag on for the 60 hours allowed by Senate rules.
Over the past week, the Senate debated and voted on 22 amendments, some of which are bipartisan measures that were passed with 60 or more votes, a positive sign for the bill’s overall passage.
Mr McConnell did not fully approve the bill, but he also did not block it and hinted that he might ultimately be in favor.
“There is a good chance that it will be a success for the country,” he told reporters on Tuesday.
The bill lifted a major political hurdle Thursday: There did not appear to be a significant erosion of Republican support after a non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimate found the legislation would increase the deficit. The office calculated that nearly half of the new spending – $ 256 billion – would be funded by increasing the country’s debt from 2021 to 2031, contradicting claims by Republican and Democratic supporters that the measure would be fully written off.
The wave of activity came after three days of painstaking work on the package, which would provide $ 550 billion in new money to rebuild the country’s crumbling roads, bridges and rail systems and fund new climate resilience initiatives. and broadband access.
The Democrats’ goal is to vote quickly on the infrastructure bill and then move on to a $ 3.5 trillion budget resolution that will contain many of the progressive political priorities that have been omitted from the bipartisan plan, including expansions. major areas of education, health care, child care and paid vacation programs, as well as measures to address climate change.
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