Republicans fail Schumer’s test vote on bipartisan infrastructure plan

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) looks down the hall after speaking to reporters following the Senate Democrats’ weekly political lunch at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, July 20, 2021.

Élisabeth Frantz | Reuters

WASHINGTON – A key procedural vote on the $ 1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure plan was not passed by the full Senate on Wednesday, after Republicans united to oppose the passage of ‘an unfinished bill.

The vote failed 49-51, with all Republicans lined up against it. The measure, a placeholder for the eventual bill, needed 60 votes to clear a key procedural hurdle. In an equally divided Senate, Democrats needed 10 votes from the GOP to move it forward.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., changed his vote to ‘no’ so he could restart the vote.

After the vote, a bipartisan group of 22 senators working on the infrastructure deal issued a joint statement.

“We have made significant progress and are close to a final agreement. We will continue to work hard to ensure that this crucial legislation is correct and we are optimistic about the finalization and preparation of this historic bipartisan proposal to strengthen US infrastructure. and create well-paying jobs in the coming days, ”the group said.

“We value our colleagues on both sides of the aisle and the administration, who are working with us to make this happen for the American people.”

The outcome of Wednesday’s vote was in advance – Republicans had made no secret of their intention to vote against.

“We’re just not ready,” Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said in an interview on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” Wednesday morning.

Instead, Republicans called on Schumer to postpone the vote to Monday to give the bipartisan group more time to finalize a deal.

But Schumer rejected calls to delay the vote. “I have been very clear on what this vote is,” Schumer said Wednesday morning, calling it “the first step in the legislative process”.

“This vote is not a deadline to sort out all the final details,” he said.

The failure of Wednesday’s efforts to move the bill forward is only a minor setback for the leader: Schumer can reintroduce the bill for a vote at any time.

Schumer and other Democratic leaders, with the backing of President Joe Biden, seek to push forward the bipartisan infrastructure bill in tandem with a $ 3.5 trillion budget resolution that is unlikely to receive any Republican support.

The bipartisan plan, which would fund a nationwide upgrade to physical infrastructure systems such as bridges and waterways, would include $ 579 billion in new spending above a Congressional baseline and cost $ 1.2 billion. trillion dollars over eight years.

The budget resolution, meanwhile, would devote federal funds to addressing a range of issues, including climate change and health care.

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