The Senate took the next step on Friday to bring up a roughly $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure deal that will fulfill key priorities in President Joe Biden’s agenda.
Senators voted 66-28 on a motion to proceed, a vote that will open up the legislative package to potential changes through the amendment process.
It remains to be seen whether any amendments will be agreed to since they are expected to be subject to a 60-vote threshold. Bill text still has not yet been formally unveiled, and amendments are not expected to be considered until Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer offers up the finalized deal as a substitute amendment, which could happen at some point later Friday afternoon. The expectation is that there could be amendment votes over the weekend.
“Given the bipartisan nature of the bill, the Senate should be able to process this legislation rather quickly,” Schumer said Friday ahead of the vote. “We may need the weekend, we may vote on several amendments, but with the cooperation of our Republican colleagues I believe we can finish the bipartisan infrastructure bill in a matter of days.”
The Senate is racing to pass the bipartisan deal before leaving for the fast-approaching August recess, which is scheduled to start at the end of next week though leaders in the chamber could change that.
The vote comes after negotiators announced a deal earlier this week. Over half of the bill — $550 billion — is new federal funding. It invests $73 billion to rebuild the electric grid, $66 billion in passenger and freight rail, $65 billion to expand broadband Internet access, $55 billion for water infrastructure, $40 billion to fix bridges, $39 billion to modernize public transit like buses and $7.5 billion to create the first federal network of charging stations for electric vehicles.
The effort to pass the bipartisan deal is one part of a dual track strategy from Democrats as they simultaneously push forward on a second and far more sweeping effort to enact major pieces of Biden’s agenda through the budget reconciliation process, which will allow them to enact legislation with only Democratic votes.
The first step in passing that larger bill will be for the Senate to adopt a budget resolution.
Schumer said on Friday that they remain “on track” to pass both a bipartisan infrastructure bill and a budget resolution before the August recess.
“It’s an ambitious deadline, absolutely. But the hard work put in by senators and staff means that we are on the right track to get it done,” he said.
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