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Senate faces crucial vote on bipartite infrastructure deal as negotiations continue

Washington – As negotiations on a bipartite infrastructure framework continue, the Senate draws closer to a key vote on the bipartite infrastructure deal reached with the White House and a group of senators, in a week that could be crucial for President Biden’s economic agenda.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has set in motion steps to hold a procedural vote on the measure on Wednesday, pushing Republican and Democratic senators to resolve outstanding issues over the details of the nearly $ 600 billion plan of dollars and how to pay it.

Schumer told the Senate on Tuesday that the upcoming vote was “just a way to kick off the whole process” and “not a deadline for legislation.”

“This is not a cynical ploy. This is not a ‘fish or bait cut’ moment,” he said. “This is not an attempt to block anyone. It is only a signal that the Senate is ready to start the process.”

But Schumer’s move angered some Republicans involved in the talks, who are pushing for the vote to be delayed, especially since the legislation has yet to be released.

“I don’t want us to lose the momentum and just the energy that we’ve built, and I think we’ve done a lot of work to get to where we are now,” said Sen. GOP Lisa Murkowski from Alaska. journalists Monday. “But if what we are trying to do is to be successful, and I would like to think that Senator Schumer would actually like that to be successful, then he will give us time to make sure the language is correct, people have the opportunity to ‘really looking at what they might vote on so that we can get the votes we need and the support. ”

Republican Senator Mitt Romney of Utah also said Tuesday that he believed Schumer would have to postpone the procedural vote until next week, which “would give us time to resolve the remaining issues.”

“There is a unanimous view that we should not vote on a motion to proceed until people know what the summary of the bill is,” he told reporters on the landscape of Senate Republicans, adding that he believed the bipartisan group could resolve any remaining issues. problems by Monday.

Mr Biden said last month a an agreement had been reached with the bipartisan group of Senators on the framework to improve the country’s roads, bridges, broadband infrastructure and water pipes, but Senators and White House aides continue to work out the details of the plan.

Republican Senator Rob Portman of Ohio told CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday that a vehicle proposed to fund the bipartisan infrastructure deal – intensify enforcement by the Internal Revenue Service , which would raise more than $ 100 billion in tax revenue – was no longer on the table because there was a “pushback”.

Portman also said Republicans learned Democrats wanted to add a tax enforcement provision in a separate and larger budget reconciliation package which will include several of the main points of Mr. Biden’s economic agenda on child care, healthcare, education and the climate.

“It has created quite a problem,” said the Republican of Ohio, “because the general agreement is that this is the bipartisan negotiated infrastructure package and we will stick to it.”

Still, Schumer stressed on Tuesday that this week’s preliminary vote was to begin debating and changing the bipartisan infrastructure framework, “no more, no less.” If the Senate negotiating group can come to an agreement on a piece of legislation in the coming days, it has said it will proceed with crafting the deal. But if a deal does not materialize, Schumer said the upper house will consider individual infrastructure bills that have been passed by Senate committees with bipartisan support.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, however, said it was crucial for him and his Republican colleagues to see the text of the deal.

“We don’t waste time by adhering to a very simple principle: we don’t go to the bill until we know what the bill is,” he told reporters at a press conference. Tuesday.

Mr. Biden continued to push the Senate to embrace the bipartisan infrastructure framework, which the White House wants to implement alongside the broader $ 3.5 trillion reconciliation plan encompassing the president’s other economic policies. The latter measure, however, should only be passed with the support of Democrats, as the procedure used by Congress to pass the comprehensive plan allows it to pass the Senate equally with a simple majority.

During remarks on the economy On Monday, Mr Biden suggested that Republicans should not back down on their support for the package negotiated with his administration, saying: “We shook hands with him.”

“Whatever different opinions some might have on the current price increases, we must be united on one thing: the adoption of the bipartite infrastructure framework,” said the president.

The White House is in the hands of Schumer on the timing and flow of Senate votes, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Monday. But she noted that the administration felt “it was time to move forward with this vote with Congressional action,” and told reporters on Tuesday that the White House supported Schumer’s efforts to move forward. the infrastructure framework. The majority leader’s decision to schedule the procedural vote, she said, is not without precedent.

“There are no secrets about the content of this legislation. It was agreed in a bipartisan agreement,” Psaki said. “The only disagreement right now is some payments, which we are working on and discussing.”

Mr Biden will continue to pitch his plans, including a trip to Ohio on Wednesday and CNN mayor.


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