Senate poised to take up $60 billion infrastructure spending package

The spending portion of the bill would pay for upgrading 150,000 miles of road, 4,000 miles of train tracks and 150 miles of runways, and would implement a NextGen air traffic control system at the price of about $1 billion, according to a fact sheet produced by the Democratic Policy and Communications Center (DPCC).

While the DPCC touts bipartisan support for some of the measures in the bill, it is expected to run into major problems in the Senate because it imposes a 0.7 percent surtax on families earning more than $1 million per year.

Most Republicans will oppose that tax hike, just as they opposed a similar provision in the first fragment of the jobs bill that failed last week. Democratic leadership could also expect defections from its own party once again — Sens. Ben Nelson (Neb.) and Mark Pryor (Ark.) voted with Republicans last week to sink the $35 billion package that would have helped employ civil servants. Sen. Joe Lieberman (I), who caucuses with Democrats, also voted against the bill. 

Leadership aides said it is not yet certain when, or how, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) will bring that measure to the floor.  It is likely, however, that could occur sometime Tuesday afternoon or evening. 

Prior to taking up that spending measure, the Senate must complete a substantial amount of unfinished business on the “minibus appropriations” package, H.R. 2112, which nearly passed the body last week. 

On Tuesday the Senate will work for several hours to dispose of at least five amendments to the bill before voting on its final passage. That measure is the expected to be sent to conference.  

The Senate is set to convene on Monday at 3 p.m. and shortly begin debate on the confirmation of Stephen Higginson to be a United States Circuit Judge for the Fifth Circuit. A vote on that confirmation will begin at 4:30 p.m.