Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) aims to finish the $1 trillion infrastructure bill at the weekend after senators hit additional problems though working into the night on Thursday, Aug. 5.
“I believe we’re very close to an agreement and see no reason why we can’t complete this important bipartisan bill,” Schumer said on the Senate floor on Thursday, adding that they will follow regular order after the procedural vote.
“So I urge both sides to continue working diligently to make it happen,” he said.
According to New York Post, the senators had hoped to pass the sweeping deal on Thursday evening, but Republicans and Democrats remained at odds over votes on additional amendments.
The Senate is scheduled to come back into session at noon Saturday, with lawmakers out of session on Friday for late Sen. Mike Enzi’s (D-Wyo.) funeral.
If a cloture vote [a vote to go ahead on a vote] passes on Saturday, senators would be allotted up to 60 hours to debate the bill.
A sticking point with lawmakers is a battle of cryptocurrency-related amendments, with the White House coming out in favor of an amendment led by Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) over Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.).
“We are grateful to Chairman Wyden for his leadership in pushing the Senate to address this issue, however we believe that the alternative amendment put forward by Senators Warner, Portman, and Sinema strikes the right balance and makes an important step forward in promoting tax compliance,” White House spokesman Andrew Bates said.
The bill, called the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, is a first part of President Joe Biden’s ambitious $3.5 trillion spending package that the Democratic leaders plan to move ahead with, though several Republicans have vowed to oppose it.
If approved by the Senate, the measure would next go to the House.
Biden has said that he wants Congress to pass the infrastructure bill as quickly as possible.
Former President Donald Trump last month called on the Senate Republicans to abandon talks on the deal until they get a fair election next year. He claimed that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and a group of “Republicans In Name Only” (RINO’s) want nothing more than to get a deal done at any cost to prove that they can work with the Democrats.