As President Biden responds to questions from a stopover in Cincinnati about his infrastructure program, back in Washington, DC, the legislation faces hurdles in Congress.
Senate Republicans blocked a vote on Wednesday to start debate on a bipartisan $ 1.2 trillion infrastructure bill, as they ask for more time to reach a deal with Democrats and draft legislation.
The vote was 49-51, below the 60 votes needed to move the measure forward.
But lawmakers have said their negotiations will intensify over the next few days with the aim of trying again to push the measure forward by early next week.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer defended his decision to hold the vote despite Republican opposition, noting that the bipartisan group had spent more than a month negotiating. He said on Wednesday bipartisan negotiators were “close to finalizing their product” and GOP senators “should feel comfortable voting to move forward today.”
“We all want the same thing here: to pass a bipartisan infrastructure bill,” Schumer said. “But to finish the bill, we have to start first.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said the pressure to move the bill forward was a “coup” that is “doomed” as negotiators have not finalized a deal.
A little background: Despite the finger points among their party leaders, the bipartisan group could draft the bill and push it forward in the coming days. Maine Republican Senator Susan Collins said on Wednesday that she and 10 other GOP senators were sending Schumer a letter pledging to move the bill forward on Monday if a deal is finalized.
In June, the White House and a bipartisan Senate group agreed to $ 579 billion in new spending to build roads, bridges, railroads and airports, as well as water, electricity infrastructure projects. and broadband.