Bipartisan Gang Wants More Time On Infrastructure Bill — So, What Now?

July 22, 2021
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As expected, the procedural vote on the bipartisan infrastructure deal failed on Wednesday, with Republicans blocking the chamber from starting debate on the bill.

The bipartisan group of senators sent out a statement seemingly timed to the vote’s failure, vaguely promising progress and asking for more time. Emphasis on the “vaguely” here — they pledged they’d be ready to advance the legislation “in the coming days.” A group of 11 Republicans promised Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) that they’d vote to proceed to debate (notably, not to pass the bill) on Monday.

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It would be reasonably easy for Schumer to swap in the finished text of the bill as an amendment — he changed his vote to “no” yesterday specifically so he could bring it up for a vote again in the future. The devil will be in the details here. Both Democrats and Republicans in the group want more time; Schumer is wary of Republicans trying to drag out the process and eat up the clock. And some Senate Democrats outside the group are getting impatient — Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) told a group of us on Tuesday that given her druthers, she’d assign the group a deadline of this week.

We’ll be watching what Schumer does next. Relevant Democrats are still plugging away at what will become the reconciliation package. It’s not clear yet when they’ll have consensus within the caucus, and the 50 votes needed to move it forward. But at some point, if the bipartisan deal is toast, they’ll need to wrap hard infrastructure into it too.

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