obstructing debate on a bipartisan infrastructure
package that includes $1.1 trillion in spending to improve the nation's roads, bridges, and waterways on Wednesday.
The procedural vote to advance the bill was 49-51, with every Republican voting
no; the bill needed 60 votes
to pass. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer
(D-NY) also voted no, allowing him to call it up for another vote.
Republican senators said that before the Senate votes on the bill, bipartisan negotiators should reach a final agreement on the legislative text and how the spending will be paid for, and they urged Schumer to postpone the vote until next week to give negotiators more time
“This stunt is doomed to fail, and the Democratic
Leader will be free to change his vote and move to reconsider whenever a bipartisan product exists,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell
(R-Ky.) said ahead of the vote in a floor speech.
Schumer stated that the vote on Wednesday was simply to begin consideration of a bill, and that he could amend it later with actual text when it is ready.
The bill has been negotiated for months by a bipartisan group of 20 senators, 10 Republicans and 10 Democrats
, and while they made some progress this week, they have yet to reach an agreement on how to fully fund it, a perennial issue in Washington
's infrastructure debate.
Meanwhile, Democrats face an August recess that could derail their plan to pass both the bipartisan infrastructure bill and a separate $3.5 trillion “human” infrastructure package, as well as a backlog of other legislative business
when they return to Washington in September.
“I have every intention of passing both major infrastructure packages — the bipartisan infrastructure framework and a budget
resolution with reconciliation instructions — before we leave for the August recess,” Schumer said Wednesday, adding, “That’s the schedule I laid out at the end of June, and that’s the schedule I intend to stick to.”
However, it is unclear whether Schumer has the support of all of his colleagues for moving
forward with the $3.5 trillion measure, especially with the bipartisan bill still unfinished. The broader package includes funding for housing
, nutrition, climate
, health care
, and child care