Senate heads toward final vote on bipartisan infrastructure package this week
By Paul LeBlanc, CNN
(CNN) -- The massive $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package is poised for a final vote in the Senate this week after clearing the last procedural hurdle following months of furious negotiations.
The chamber on Sunday evening voted 68-29 to invoke cloture on the underlying legislation, setting up a final vote after the 30-hour post-cloture time expires early Tuesday morning, unless there's an agreement to speed up the process.
Following the vote on Tuesday, the Senate will quickly shift their attention to the budget resolution, which needs to pass both chambers of Congress first before Democrats can move on their separate $3.5 trillion package, which they hope they can pass with Democratic votes.
"The two track process is moving along," Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said. "It's taken a while, but it's gonna be worth it, as, hopefully, we pass both bills very, very soon."
Lawmakers have been inching toward a final vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill for days, considering 22 amendments to the package last week after the legislative text was finalized the previous weekend. On Saturday, the Senate voted to break a filibuster and advance the bill.
"We are within days, possibly within hours of seeing this historic legislation that's going to get us better roads and bridges, better ports and airports, a better future for our economy and creating millions of jobs," Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg told Fox News on Sunday morning.
"We're on the cusp of seeing that move through the Senate."
The massive bipartisan infrastructure package, called the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, is the culmination of drawn-out and painstaking negotiations between a bipartisan group of senators and the Biden administration and will allow both parties to claim a win after extensive work across the aisle.
It features $550 billion in new federal spending over five years. The measure invests $110 billion in funding toward roads, bridges and major projects, $66 billion in passenger and freight rail, $65 billion to rebuild the electric grid, $65 billion to expand broadband Internet access, and $39 billion to modernize and expand transit systems.
Among many other priorities, the bill also includes $55 billion for water infrastructure, $15 billion of which will be directed toward replacing lead pipes.
And while senators are confident the bill will pass, the legislation faces an uncertain future in the House.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has indicated that the chamber won't take up the bipartisan bill until Senate Democrats pass their larger social, environmental infrastructure package -- a position that continues to be met with criticism from Republicans and some moderate Democrats alike.
The GOP senators who support the bipartisan infrastructure bill note that there are major differences between their bill and the Democratic package. They say it's essential for Republicans to show that they're not just a knee-jerk opposition party and can instead find consensus on pressing national problems important to voters.
But a report from the Congressional Budget Office that found the bipartisan package will "add $256 billion to projected deficits" between 2021 and 2031 has complicated deliberations for some GOP senators.
Republican Sen. Todd Young, who initially endorsed the bipartisan deal and had previously voted to cut off debate, announced Sunday evening that he will vote against the bill. The Indiana Republican, who faces reelection next year, pointed to the CBO's scoring of the legislation and said he is not "comfortable with a number of the Democratic priorities contained in this version."
"As I've said many times, while I'm eager for a bill that makes these investments, I'm also committed to doing so in a fiscally responsible way," he said in a statement.
South Dakota Sen. John Thune, the Republican whip who hasn't hadn't yet declared whether he's running for another term next year, hadn't ruled out as of last week supporting the bill on final passage. But he had a warning for the GOP.
"I think the politics work for both sides," Thune, the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, said. "I think that if you're a Republican you want to prove that you're not just here to completely block and stop the entire agenda if you find areas that are good for, you know, the country and then you want to be a part of trying to solve those problems."
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