The bipartisan infrastructure bill cleared another Senate hurdle Friday morning, advancing in the chamber and setting up a potential final vote in the coming days.
Though the vote was slightly delayed as lawmakers worked to resolve last-minute issues, 66 senators voted to officially begin debate on the bill, far above the simple majority required to advance. The total was one shy of Wednesday’s initial vote, when 67 senators voted to move it toward debate.
Seventeen GOP senators voted to move the bill forward two days earlier, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and the top Republicans on several powerful Senate committees.
Though its advancement was expected, it was a large step towards Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s bid to pass both the bipartisan public works package and Democrats’ $3.5 trillion reconciliation package before the Senate’s scheduled recess begins Aug. 9.
“The Senate remains on track to reach our goal of passing both a bipartisan infrastructure bill and a budget resolution with reconciliation instructions before the start of the August recess,” Schumer said on the Senate floor ahead of Friday’s vote. “It’s an ambitious deadline, absolutely. But the hard work put in by senators and staff means that we are on the right track to get it done.”
Schumer added on the Senate floor that he may keep it in session through the weekend in order to buy more time. (RELATED: Trump Erupts After Republicans Vote To Advance Infrastructure Bill)
The bill includes $550 billion in new spending, and totals about $973 billion. It allocates billions of dollars toward repairing the nation’s roads, bridges, waterways and drinking water pipes and provides funding for expanded broadband, electric vehicle charging stations and public transit.
Though it is moving closer to becoming law, it still has a long way to go. It must still pass the House of Representatives, where many Democrats want to see any bipartisan bill include much of the provisions it included in its own $715 billion surface transportation bill which lawmakers passed a month ago. (RELATED: Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill Sails Past Filibuster, Advances In Senate)
Additionally, some House progressives have hinged their support for the bipartisan package on passing the reconciliation one as well, even as some Senate moderates have shown hesitation at passing another multi-trillion dollar bill.
“Without a reconciliation package that meets this moment, I’m a no on this bipartisan deal,” wrote New York Democratic Rep. Mondaire Jones after Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, a moderate from Arizona, said that she would not support a $3.5 trillion bill.
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