Senate Republicans Block Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal Because Bill Text Not Yet Written

John Thune
Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Senate Republicans blocked the bipartisan $570 billion infrastructure deal Wednesday because the text of the legislation was not ready to study.

The 49-51 vote fell short of the 60 needed to advance a bill. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) switched his vote to allow “him to bring it back up for a second vote” next week if he wishes.

“We have made significant progress and are close to a final agreement,” the bipartisan infrastructure group’s released statement read. “We appreciate our colleagues on both sides of the isle, and the administration, working with us to get this done for the American people.”

The statement released by the bipartisan infrastructure group did not contain Sens. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) and Jerry Cramer’s (R-KA) signature on it.

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), an original bipartisan negotiator of the deal, said before the vote he believes “there’s an unanimous point of view that we shouldn’t vote on a motion to proceed until people know what the summary is of the bill.”

Schumer presumably attempted to rush the bill through the Senate as summer recess approaches amid two other crucial initiatives of raising the debt ceiling and passing the trojan horse $3.5 trillion infrastructure package. The former must occur before recess begins after August 6. Schumer said before the vote:

This vote is only the first step in the legislative process on the Senate floor. It is merely a vote about whether the Senate is ready to begin debating a bipartisan infrastructure bill. I have also been very clear about what this vote is not: This vote is not a deadline to have every final detail worked out. It is not an attempt to jam anyone.

With both the bipartisan deal and the trojan horse package linked together on a two track system, as Democrat lawmakers have designed the strategy, the failure of the bipartisan deal could doom the trojan horse package. But the success of the $570 billion bipartisan bill is still very important to President Joe Biden, whose whole agenda is on the line only six months after his inauguration.

“I think there will be another vote on this bill, or a shell, whichever it may be,” Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) said after the vote. “I think we’ll work hard to get the thing across the finish line.” He added:

I think there will be a good vote once we get the language out there, no more excuses. We might lose some Democrats, and we’re certainly not going to get all the Republicans. I think there will be a good bipartisan vote to move this forward. If it didn’t, if that doesn’t happen, I think shame on us.

If the bill is not brought up again for a vote, it is unknown what the end result will be for the bipartisan infrastructure deal.

“That’s what is problematic,” said Sen. John Thune (R-SD), also after the vote.

“President Biden has said there’s no linkage here. You’re not going to force me or force us [Republicans] to sign both into law,” Thune said in reference to Democrat leadership that wants both packages signed into law on a two track system in order to champion bipartisanship and the success of signing radical polices into law.

Meanwhile, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is pushing forward with his $3.5 trillion “infrastructure” package for August.

“My hope is that by early August we will have a budget proposal to bring to the floor for a vote,” said Sanders.

The $3.5 trillion represents a top line budget number that encompasses many items Sanders favors, such as expanding medicare, global warming initiatives, suburb displacement with low-income housing, subsidized housing, subsidized childcare, and subsidized racial equity and environmental justice.


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