Senate Republicans are about to thwart Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s (D-NY) bid to begin Senate debate on Wednesday on Joe Biden’s still-unfinished infrastructure plan, while signaling that they’ll instead be ready to move forward next week, according to Bloomberg.
Schumer’s decision to force an early test vote Wednesday afternoon spurred a faster pace in protracted talks for a $579 billion infrastructure plan, but not the completed deal GOP senators are demanding as a prerequisite to begin debate.
“Today we are not going to be able to support moving forward,” said lead GOP negotiator Rob Portman (OH) in a Wednesday morning statement to CNBC. “We will be able to on Monday and I hope that is what the majority leader decides to do, put this vote off until Monday.”
Schumer, meanwhile, says the bipartisan group “is close to finishing their product” on infrastructure.
The procedural bill is expected to come around 2:30 pm et today.
On Wednesday morning, White House Communications Director Kate Bedingfield said that the president was “extremely supportive” of Schumer’s attempt to kick off Senate debate, and urged Senators to back the procedural vote to move forward.
“So there is still plenty of opportunity for people to make amendments and to make sure the final details of the bill are lined up with the agreement the president struck with a group of Republicans and Democrats,” Bedingfield told CNN.
The motion to move forward is unlikely to receive the 60 votes needed – meaning talks among a bipartisan group of 22 senators will likely continue for at least a few more days unless Schumer uses a procedural maneuver to try again.
On Tuesday night, Montana Democrat Jon Tester said “I really believe tomorrow it will be done. We are so close.”
Fellow Democrat Mark Warner of Virginia said he was confident that a final deal would be struck, saying “We know all the issues, we’re digging deep on things like pay-fors, and we wouldn’t be continuing this effort if we didn’t think we were going to get there.”