Aug 6, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Senate readies for final infrastructure vote

Sen. Rob Portman is seen speaking with reporters amid the Senate's infrastructure debate.
Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) is seen discussing the infrastructure bill with reporters on Thursday. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) filed cloture on the Senate's $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill Thursday night, setting it up for a final vote in his chamber as early as Saturday.

Why it matters: The bill's expected passage will be a major victory for Congress and the Biden administration, especially given the current level of polarization in Congress.

Between the lines: Senate leaders in both parties have been discussing ways to accelerate the remainder of floor debate over the bipartisan bill.

  • Their goal is to vote on the proposal as soon as possible so they can move onto consideration of the $3.5 trillion budget resolution and salvage as much of their August recess as possible.
  • Republicans had been waiting for the Congressional Budget Office to score the package before voting. The CBO released their score Thursday afternoon, making a final vote possible as early as Thursday night. However, Schumer told reporters after filing cloture, "We aren't there yet."
  • Many senators will be out of town Friday to attend the funeral for former Sen. Mike Enzi's (R-Wyo.), pushing the likely vote to Saturday.

Behind the scenes: While everyone can declare a win once the bipartisan package passes, there's a ton of frustration that's built up in the process.

  • It's not just about the substance of the bill; it's about the process used to draft it.
  • Committee chairs are furious at being left out of the bipartisan negotiations staged by the G10 — later expanded to the G22.
  • They blame the breakaway lawmakers for fueling a breakdown in regular order, which dragged out the talks, multiple lawmakers and their aides tell Axios.
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