Leading GOP negotiators on bipartisan infrastructure legislation – Sens. Lisa Murkowski (from left), Bill Cassidy, Rob Portman, Susan Collins and Mitt Romney – speak to reporters at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. Drew Angerer / Getty Images Hide caption
Drew Angerer / Getty Images
Drew Angerer / Getty Images
Bipartisan Senate negotiators said they had reached an agreement on an infrastructure package and a procedural vote on the measure is due to take place on Wednesday evening.
Ohio GOP Senator Rob Portman told reporters the group had agreed on key issues and was still working on legislation. “We’re ready to move forward,” Portman said after Republicans working on the settlement met with Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema, who led the talks for the 10 Democrats at the negotiating table, told reporters on Capitol Hill that “we are very excited to have a deal” and said she spoke to President Biden about it. Biden later told reporters he was “confident” about the bill.
Speaking at a Pennsylvania truck plant on Wednesday afternoon, Biden added that he was working with Democrats and Republicans on the deal because, “while we disagree on much, I believe we should be able to work together we agree on some things. ”
The announcement comes a week after a failed test vote on the deal in which Republicans said Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., moved too fast. This time, Schumer said he was confident that the Senate would approve the way forward.
The bill is expected to be around $ 1.2 trillion over eight years with new spending of around $ 550 billion, but the final details on the key components are still being worked out.
Maine Republican Senator Susan Collins, one of the 10 GOP lawmakers in talks, said the bill includes $ 65 billion for broadband expansion. She admitted that “it was not easy” to get a deal, “but we agreed on the most important issues”.
A White House factsheet on the deal also outlines:
- $ 110 for roads, bridges, and other major projects
- $ 11 billion in road safety programs
- $ 39 billion to modernize local transport and improve accessibility
- $ 66 billion in rail transport
- $ 7.5 billion to build a national network of electric vehicle chargers
- $ 73 billion in power infrastructure and clean energy transmission
Portman said the bill was paid, including the use of anti-fraud funds in unemployment assistance programs. That The White House says this is also partially offset by “targeted corporate fees” as well as the economic growth expected from the investments.
The group is waiting for a final award from the Congressional Budget Office.
Montana Senator Jon Tester, one of the Democrats involved in the talks, told reporters that the final text has not yet been fully circulated, but he expects the final agreement to be finalized on Wednesday.
Democrats expect to discuss the deal at a weekly political meeting the afternoon before a vote scheduled for Wednesday evening.
Senator Joe Manchin, DW.Va., said he anticipates the first vote will take place on the wildcard legislation, which will later be amended to include the full text of the agreement. This process is not uncommon; it allows the Senate to move forward while staff work out the legal language required to vote on a bill.
Senate # 2 GOP Leader John Thune of South Dakota told reporters that Republicans wanted to see the final details, but he was open to the vote.
“I want to encourage this because I think it’s good to have a bipartisan exercise here from time to time on something that is important and important to the people in the country,” Thune said. He thought the leaders were working on an agreement to consider amendments so that both sides could try to add elements.
Regardless, Senate Democrats continue to seek an agreement among all 50 members of their faction on a $ 3.5 trillion spending package that includes the President’s domestic political priorities, which some refer to as “human infrastructure.” such as an extension of the childcare tax credit, climate change regulations, health programs and potential immigration reforms.
They plan to use a process known as reconciliation to move this package through the chamber to avoid a Republican filibuster. McConnell has vowed that no GOP members would support this massive package, so there is no room for error among Democrats in the narrowly divided Senate. Sinema told The Arizona Republic that while she supports the beginning of this process, “I do not support any bill that costs $ 3.5 trillion – and in the coming months I will work in good faith to develop this legislation.”
House spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi, D-California, told reporters she was encouraged by a likely Senate deal but would not commit to passing it until the House has a chance to review. “We strive for it. We hope for the best,” she said.
Pelosi also reiterated her position that she will not put it to the vote until the Senate passes a budget resolution outlining the terms of the $ 3.5 trillion reconciliation package.
Schumer said Wednesday the Democrats were “in very good shape” to work out the budget decision.
“Both tracks are progressing very well,” said Schumer.
NPR’s Kelsey Snell, Susan Davis, and Claudia Grisales contributed to this report.