Senators said that they have agreed on the “major issues” in their bipartisan infrastructure framework, clearing the way for an upcoming vote after talks seemed on the edge of collapse.
“We now have an agreement on the major issues,” Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman, the lead GOP negotiator, told reporters Wednesday. “We are prepared to move forward.”
Democrats also confirmed that a deal had been reached.
“I think we’re going to have more than 10 [Republicans voting for it],” Montana Democratic Sen. Jon Tester told reporters Wednesday.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer commended the deal on the Senate floor Wednesday, and said that a vote could happen within hours.
“Senators continue to make good progress on both tracks of legislation,” Schumer said. “Senators should be prepared to vote again on cloture on the motion to proceed to the bipartisan infrastructure bill as early as tonight.” (RELATED: Senators Sprint To Finish Infrastructure Plan As Time Runs Out)
The first cloture vote would allow the Senate to begin debate on the bill. It needs 60 votes to pass, meaning that at least 10 Republicans must vote in favor assuming every Democrat does so as well.
Schumer brought the framework up for a similar vote last Monday, but it failed on party lines after Republicans said that they wanted to see the bill put into text for review before voting on it. (RELATED: Americans Want Roads And Bridges. They’re Mixed On Other Priorities)
The deal, which has the support of President Joe Biden, costs approximately $1.2 trillion over eight years and allocates billions toward upgrades for roads, bridges, waterways and more.
If the bill advances Wednesday, it sets up a possible vote on final passage in the coming days.
“To my friends in the press, I would cancel your weekend plans and then cancel all your dinner plans for the foreseeable future,” Virginia Democratic Sen. Mark Warner told Punchbowl News Wednesday morning.
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