- Sen. Mitt Romney is among Republicans pushing for a delay in voting on infrastructure.
- Informal talks could continue if the Senate votes Wednesday against debating it on the floor.
- Sen. Chuck Schumer set up the vote because the legislative calendar is getting crowded.
WASHINGTON – The odds a bipartisan infrastructure bill will move forward Wednesday appear grim as Senate Republican negotiators said they wouldn’t vote to debate the measure because the details haven’t been finalized.
“We can’t support cloture for something we haven’t accomplished yet,” said Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, the lead negotiator for Republicans. “We haven’t come to agreement on key issues.”
The negotiators are crucial to moving the bill along. Nearly a dozen Senate Republicans, including Portman, struck a deal with President Joe Biden in June on the infrastructure plan. Since the 50 Democratic senators need at least 10 Republicans to support the bill to clear a parliamentary hurdle for debate,losing the support of just a few could stall the bill.
Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, another negotiator, said he would vote against beginning debate Wednesday on the bill and said the group will send Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., a letter asking to postpone the vote to Monday. Romney said three-quarters of the disputed issues had been resolved in the past two days.
“I would expect that by the end of the week, we’ll have them all resolved,” Romney said. “We’ll be ready Monday. We won’t have the full text, of course, but we’ll have a detailed outline.”
“I hope we won’t have a motion to proceed on Wednesday,” said another negotiator, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine. “I hope it will be put off.”
The Senate vote will be a test of whether any of President Joe Biden’s ambitious and expensive economic proposals can become law. The bipartisan package would offer hundreds of billions of dollars for roads, bridges, railways and broadband.
Informal talks could continue if the Senate votes Wednesday against debating it on the floor. But because of the crush of other legislation dealing with routine spending, voting rights and a policing overhaul, a Senate rejection of infrastructure could thwart one of the most auspicious prospects for bipartisan cooperation this year.
Schumer set the vote after a month of bipartisan talks because other legislation is crowding the schedule. He said the bill could still be debated for 30 hours and amended on the floor. Despite Republican opposition, Schumer said he would hold the vote Wednesday.
“The Senate Democrats are keeping their foot on the gas pedal,” Schumer said. “It’s not an attempt to jam anyone, it’s just a vote on whether senators are ready to begin debating the issue.”
What is reconciliation? What is ‘reconciliation,’ and why is it holding up the infrastructure package?
Go to the news source: Biden’s infrastructure bill in Congress hits snag as GOP seeks delay