Senators are confident the bill will pass, but it’s now just a matter of how long that takes with the exact timing of a final vote still unclear, though it could come over the weekend or within the next few days.
“We very much want to finish this important bill,” Schumer said in floor remarks as he made the announcement.
If the procedural vote goes forward on Saturday, and 60 senators vote to advance the bill, then there would be a limited time for debate followed by additional votes — and then final passage. At that point, passage could occur as early as Saturday if all senators agree. If not, the vote could slip until early next week.
The massive bipartisan infrastructure package, called the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, is the culmination of drawn-out and painstaking negotiations between a bipartisan group of senators and the Biden administration and will allow both parties to claim a win after extensive work across the aisle.
It features $550 billion in new federal spending over five years. The measure invests $110 billion in funding toward roads, bridges and major projects, $66 billion in passenger and freight rail, $65 billion to rebuild the electric grid, $65 billion to expand broadband Internet access, and $39 billion to modernize and expand transit systems. Among many other priorities, the bill also includes $55 billion for water infrastructure, $15 billion of which will be directed toward replacing lead pipes.
But Senate leaders failed to reach an agreement late Thursday night on a series of final amendment votes that they hoped would help speed up final passage of the bill as several lawmakers flexed their power to draw out the process.
“Despite this news, I was asked to consent to expedite the process and pass it. I could not, in good conscience, allow that to happen at this hour — especially when the objective of the majority is to hurry up and pass this bill so that they can move quickly to their $3.5 trillion tax-and-spend spree designed to implement the Green New Deal and increase Americans’ dependence on the government so I objected,” Hagerty said in a statement.
Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, the Senate Republican Whip, suggested to reporters late Thursday night that the failure to reach any agreement on amendments was ultimately a “good outcome, and that is: people kind of go to their corners, towel off and then we’ll come back and talk about it on Saturday.”