Democrat Jacky Rosen becomes 22nd senator to back bipartisan infrastructure deal
The Senate’s bipartisan infrastructure gang is expanding, with Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.) becoming its 22nd member.
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema’s (D-Ariz.) indicated during an interview this week with Arizona radio station KTAR that the group, which she leads with GOP Sen. Rob Portman (Ohio), had gained a new member since mid-June, when 21 senators came out in support of the framework.
“We worked really hard … to build a coalition that is half Democrat, half Republican. We now have 22 senators who are supporting this framework,” Sinema said.
Sinema’s office told The Hill that Rosen, who was elected to the Senate in 2018 when she unseated GOP Sen. Dean Heller (Nev.), was that new member of the Senate’s bipartisan infrastructure group.
Rosen’s office confirmed to The Hill that the Democratic senator, who is focused on the broadband and airport components of the negotiations, had joined the group.
With Rosen joining the Senate gang is now evenly split between 11 Democratic senators and 11 Republican senators.
In addition to Rosen, the House Problem Solvers Caucus also came out in support of the deal this week.
The core members of the Senate bipartisan group joined President Biden at the White House late last month to announce that they had reached a deal on a $1.2 trillion over eight years framework.
They are now working with the administration and a broader coalition of Senate colleagues to turn the framework into the legislation as they try to lock down the 60 votes needed for the bill to pass the Senate.
Sinema, during her interview with KTAR, said the bill focused on the “most dire needs” on infrastructure.
“We are working to craft this into legislation that is lean and effective,” she said.
The group still faces hurdles to getting the bill to Biden’s desk later this year.
Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) wants to vote this month on both the bipartisan plan and a budget resolution that paves the way for a separate, larger Democrat-only infrastructure plan.
But the bipartisan plan is facing skepticism from both Democrats and Republicans outside of the negotiating group about some of the suggested ways to pay for the spending.
“If that’s credibly paid for, as opposed to adding it to the debt, I think there’s a way forward on that portion of it,” Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said in Kentucky this week. “Maybe we’ll get there.”
But McConnell also pledged a “hell of a fight” over the larger Democrat-only bill, which is expected to be multiple trillions of dollars.
Senate Republicans can’t prevent Democrats from passing a larger bill on their own if Schumer has unity from all of his members. But they’ve also sent warning signs over threats by Democrats, particularly in the House, to hold up the bipartisan deal until they are able to pass the Democrat-only bill.
“There is a process by which they could pass this without a single Republican. But we’re going to make it hard for them. And there are a few Democrats left in rural American and some others who would like to be more in the political center who may find this offensive,” McConnell added about the Democrat-only bill.
Updated at 2:30 p.m.