The Senate is set to vote on Tuesday on a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill after months of talks, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced late Monday.
If the vote is approved by the evenly-split Senate, the bill will head to the House of Representatives, which Democrats control by a narrow margin. There, lawmakers will be required to debate and vote on the bill in late September after they return from their summer break.
“In a few minutes, I will announce that we have come to an agreement for final passage of the bipartisan infrastructure proposal,” Schumer said on the Senate floor late Monday. “Let me say this, it has taken quite a long time, and there have been detours and everything else, but this will do a lot of good for America.”
The bipartisan proposal includes some $550 billion in new spending that seeks to fund the construction of roads, bridges and highways, public transport, water infrastructure, as well as power and broadband infrastructure, and cyber security, among other initiatives.
Democrats plan to take “two tracks” forward with regard to their agenda—the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, and a $3.5 trillion budget resolution, Schumer said.
The two measures would together fund President Joe Biden’s jobs and families plan.
Democrats want to pass their $3.5 trillion budget resolution via a Senate process called “reconciliation,” which requires only a simple majority in the Senate, to bypass a Senate filibuster. In the evenly-split 50–50 Senate, Democrats hold a majority due to Vice President Kamala Harris’s tie-breaking vote. They would otherwise have to secure support from 10 Republicans to meet the 60 votes required to end a filibuster.
Schumer launched the reconciliation process on June 16.
“On our side of the aisle, we know we need both tracks—one dealing with traditional infrastructure, one dealing with climate and the problems American families face as they move into the new global transformational 21st century,” Schumer said late Monday.
The $3.5 trillion measure could theoretically be passed without Republican support if all Democrats vote in its favor. They would need to garner support from moderates, including Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.).
Republicans have objected to the size and cost of the $3.5 trillion proposal, which includes spending on home health care and child care, education, and a number of areas Republicans do not agree with, including climate-related measures and amnesty for illegal immigrants.
The measure has been dubbed as so-called “human infrastructure,” as opposed to the bipartisan bill that offers “physical infrastructure.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said earlier on Monday that his party will not vote for raising the U.S. national debt limit if the bill cannot secure bipartisan support.
“Democrats want Republicans to help them raise the debt limit so they can keep spending historic sums of money with zero Republican input and zero Republican votes,” McConnell said. “So our friends across the aisle should not expect traditional bipartisan borrowing to finance their non-traditional, reckless taxing and spending spree. That’s not how it’s going to work.”
Sinema said recently that she opposes the $3.5 trillion price tag for the budget resolution but is willing to negotiate with her colleagues to develop the legislation.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said previously that she will not hold a House vote on the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill if the $3.5 trillion bill does not pass the Senate.
Mimi Nguyen Ly is a reporter based in Australia. She covers world news with a focus on U.S. news. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.