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Sleepy Saturday session in Senate: Bipartisan group finalizing $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill

Saturday session slog: Bipartisan senators work on finalizing $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill with Majority Leader Chuck Schumer saying it could be filed as soon as tonight

  • A bipartisan group of senators are working to finalize their $1.2trillion infrastructure bill during an infrequent Saturday session
  • Majority Leader Chuck Schumer says negotiations are moving forward and that he has kept the chambers on standby so the bill can be filed when finished
  • Schumer said: ‘I’m fully committed to passing a bipartisan infrastructure bill, and so the Senate will remain in session today so they can bring this to a conclusion’ 
  • If the group is able the unveil the proposed legislation Saturday, Senators could start voting on potential changes as early as Sunday afternoon
  • At this time, no votes have been scheduled 

Senate negotiators are working to finalize their $1.2trillion infrastructure bill during an infrequent Saturday session. 

The bipartisan deal isn’t yet finished, however Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced around 5.30pm that he would keep the chambers on standby so lawmakers could file the legislation once it is finalized.

Lawmakers are hoping to formally unveil the text of the agreement Saturday night, The Hill reported. However, analysts say this process may continue until Sunday.

‘I’m fully committed to passing a bipartisan infrastructure bill, and so the Senate will remain in session today so they can bring this to a conclusion,’ Schumer announced.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (pictured above on July 31) says negotiations are moving forward on the  $1.2trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill

Schumer says he will keep the chambers on standby so lawmakers can file the legislation once it is finalized. He said: 'I'm fully committed to passing a bipartisan infrastructure bill, and so the Senate will remain in session today so they can bring this to a conclusion'

Schumer says he will keep the chambers on standby so lawmakers can file the legislation once it is finalized. He said: ‘I’m fully committed to passing a bipartisan infrastructure bill, and so the Senate will remain in session today so they can bring this to a conclusion’

He said the group of legislators behind the bill are ‘working hard to bring this negotiation to a conclusion,’ but need some additional time to do so.

Group member Sen. Mark Warner told the newspaper that he and his colleagues are finalizing the ‘last couple pieces of legislative language’.

‘I hope that we will get that finished as soon as possible so we can get this bill on the floor, have amendments, have a debate,’ he said.

If the group is able the unveil the proposed legislation Saturday, Senators could start voting on potential changes as early as Sunday afternoon, according to The Hill.

At this time no votes have been scheduled. 

The bipartisan plan calls for $550billion in new spending over five years above projected federal levels. It’s being financed from funding sources that might not pass muster with deficit hawks, including repurposing untapped COVID-19 relief aid and relying on projected future economic growth.

A draft bill circulating Capitol Hill indicated it could have more than 2,500 pages when introduced. 

Among the major investments are $110billion for roads and bridges, $39billion for public transit and $66billion for rail. There’s also $55 billion for water and wastewater infrastructure as well as billions for airports, ports, broadband internet and electric vehicle charging stations. 

The bipartisan group (member Sen. Lisa Murkowski pictured) is 'working hard to bring this negotiation to a conclusion'

The bipartisan group (member Sen. Lisa Murkowski pictured) is ‘working hard to bring this negotiation to a conclusion’

If the group (member Sen. Jon Tester pictured) is able the unveil the proposed legislation Saturday, Senators could start voting on potential changes as early as Sunday afternoon

If the group (member Sen. Jon Tester pictured) is able the unveil the proposed legislation Saturday, Senators could start voting on potential changes as early as Sunday afternoon

Schumer previously vowed to have officials vote on the infrastructure bill and budget resolution, a $3.5 trillion blueprint that vastly expand social and environmental programs, before allowing the Senate to take its weeks-long recess.

The break was initially scheduled to begin on August 9, however analysts believe officials will likely lose that first week due to debate on the aforementioned proposals.

‘I have said for weeks that the Senate is going to move forward on both tracks of infrastructure before the beginning of the August recess. The longer it takes to finish, the longer we’ll be here, but we’re going to get the job done,’ said Schumer. 

On Friday, Democratic swing vote, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, told Schumer she would not be staying in town through the August recess to vote, as she already had vacation plans.

Analysts say this could be problematic because Democrats need every single senator to get through a potential $3.5trillion budget bill using reconciliation, and need to pass the bipartisan infrastructure deal. 

Even before the vacation threat, Sinema has indicated she could derail the reconciliation bill, noting that she doesn’t support the $3.5 trillion pricetag.

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