Senate

Schumer strikes deal with Crapo to save China bill

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) has struck a gentlemen’s agreement with Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) to allow a vote on his trade deal with Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) as an amendment to a China competitiveness bill.

The amendment has a good chance of passing, and the breakthrough between Schumer and Crapo means there’s now a chance the competitiveness bill, which has been renamed the Innovation and Competition Act, could pass Thursday.

“Crapo is very happy with the deal,” one GOP senator said in reference to the gentlemen’s agreement between Schumer and Crapo to allow a vote on bipartisan language to extend trade preferences and tariff relief.

Crapo and Wyden had a deal on the trade preferences, but Schumer blocked it from being added to the competitiveness bill.

Because the Crapo amendment would come after the Senate has voted to end debate on the substitute amendment to the competitiveness bill, it needs the sign-off of every single senator. So-called post-cloture amendments need unanimous consent.

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) was the last GOP senator to sign off on the Crapo-Schumer deal.

A GOP senator said Lee gave the green light for allowing a post-cloture amendment after requesting more time to study it.
 
In a sign that the impasse is close to being resolved, Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) voted in support of a motion to end debate on the substitute amendment, which would help advance the Innovation and Competition Act to a final up-or-down vote Thursday evening or maybe Friday.

“My understanding is the deal with the Dems is there. It’s just a matter of one more member on our side who has to agree. It’s pretty close,” Rounds said, declining to name the lone GOP holdout.

“I wanted to make sure the Finance title had a fair shot of getting in and now I’m quite comfortable we have a real good shot of getting it in,” Rounds said of his vote in support of the Schumer substitute amendment. 

Republican senators now say it will be possible to finish the bill up Thursday, but that means all senators will have to yield back procedural time. 

Senate rules require that 30 hours of post-cloture time elapse after senators vote to end debate on the substitute amendment. Lawmakers also have to vote to end dilatory debate on the underlying bill as well as let another 30 hours elapse before final passage. 

All this procedural time can be cut down if all senators agree to expedite the process. 

Tags Charles Schumer China China competitiveness bill Mike Crapo Mike Lee Mike Rounds Ron Wyden
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