On Wednesday, Republicans in the U.S. Senate blocked a debate on a $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill.
Lawmakers from both parties have been wrangling over an infrastructure deal for weeks. A procedural vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill on Wednesday was rejected by a vote of 49 to 51, falling short of the 60 votes needed for public debate. Even Schumer, the Democratic leader of the US Senate, changed his vote from "yes" to "no" at the last minute, and in the end, a total of 51 senators voted against opening the debate.
Schumer said that under Senate rules, his vote against it would allow him to reconsider how to vote at some point in the future, and even have a chance to introduce a bill again.
Wednesday's defeat pushed back the voting schedule to late summer, but lawmakers said they expected a deal to be reached by Monday if Senate Democratic leaders agreed to arrange another vote. U.S. president Joe Biden also said a bipartisan infrastructure agreement will be reached by next Monday. The Senate is expected to vote on Monday to start a debate on the infrastructure bill.
Republican Senator Portman said 11 Republicans signed a letter to Schumer saying they were willing to vote "yes" as soon as next week. They hoped that the outstanding issues of the proposal would be resolved at that time, including how to finance the proposal and how to pay for it.
In a statement, the bipartisan group said it was close to reaching a final agreement on the bill. The bill includes $600 billion in new spending on roads, bridges and other infrastructure.
Although Schumer voted against it, he seemed optimistic about the prospects for the negotiations, and he thought it was time to start discussing the measure in the Senate after weeks of haggling over the details:
Senators should be reassured that today's vote will move forward. "
Bipartisan efforts are part of a two-track strategy to advance the White House's comprehensive economic agenda, and Biden believes bipartisan infrastructure bills are crucial. He also wants Congress to pass another $3.5 trillion budget bill.
Schumer had hoped that both bills would be passed by the Senate before the August recess. Both parties are well aware that the upcoming mid-term elections in November 2022 will determine who will control Congress in the second half of Biden's term.
However, some liberal Democrats say they believe Republicans have deliberately delayed a measure that they may eventually vote against.
In the past, both parties have used incomplete bills to force the passage of bills. This happened, for example, when Republicans tried to repeal Obamacare.