Congress

Republicans Sink Schumer's Test Vote on Bipartisan Infrastructure Plan, But Talks Continue

Elizabeth Frantz | Reuters
  • A key procedural vote on the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure plan failed to pass the full Senate after Republicans united in opposition to moving ahead with an unfinished bill.
  • Republicans wanted the vote held next week in order to give a bipartisan group of senators time to finalize an agreement on the package.
  • The failure of Wednesday's effort to advance the bill is only a minor setback for Democrats: Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer can reintroduce the bill for a vote any time.

WASHINGTON – A key procedural vote on the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure plan failed to pass the full Senate on Wednesday, after Republicans united in opposition to moving ahead with an unfinished bill.

The vote failed 49-51, with all Republicans lined up against it. The measure, a placeholder for the eventual bill, needed 60 votes to clear a key procedural hurdle. In an evenly split Senate, Democrats needed 10 GOP votes to advance it.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., changed his vote to "no" in order to be able to bring the vote up again.

The outcome of Wednesday's vote was a foregone conclusion – Republicans had made no secret of their plan to vote against it.

"We're just not ready," Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said in an interview on CNBC's "Squawk Box" Wednesday morning.

Instead, Republicans had called on Schumer to postpone the vote until Monday to give a bipartisan group of senators more time to finalize an agreement.

Several senators working on the plan say they felt certain they could finalize a deal by Monday.

Schumer rejected calls delay the vote. "I've been very clear about what this vote is," Schumer said Wednesday morning, calling it "the first step in the legislative process."

"This vote is not a deadline to have every final detail worked out," he said.

The failure of Wednesday's effort to advance the bill is only a minor setback for the leader: Schumer can reintroduce the bill for a vote any time.

Schumer and other Democratic leaders, with the backing of President Joe Biden, seek to advance the bipartisan infrastructure bill in tandem with a $3.5 trillion budget resolution that is likely to get no Republican support.

The bipartisan plan, which would fund a nationwide update of physical infrastructure systems such as bridges and waterways, would include $579 billion in new spending above a congressional baseline and cost $1.2 trillion over eight years.

The budget resolution, meanwhile, would pour federal money into addressing an array of issues, including climate change and health care.

This is a developing story, please check back for updates.

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