Bipartisan Senate group to finalize infrastructure bill this week

Bipartisan Senate group to finalize infrastructure bill this week
© Greg Nash

Members of a bipartisan group of lawmakers said Tuesday they expect to finalize their $1.2 trillion, eight-year infrastructure deal by the end of the week.

“By Friday for sure. Hopefully we’ll even have it by Thursday,” said Sen. Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterGraham's COVID-19 'breakthrough' case jolts Senate This week: Senate starts infrastructure sprint Senators introduce bipartisan infrastructure bill in rare Sunday session MORE (D-Mont.) when asked about the timeline for the legislative text.

Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck Schumer'The Squad' celebrates Biden eviction moratorium Overnight Health Care: Florida becomes epicenter of COVID-19 surge | NYC to require vaccination for indoor activities | Biden rebukes GOP governors for barring mask mandates National Organization for Women calls for Cuomo resignation MORE (D-N.Y.) told reporters that Sen. Kyrsten SinemaKyrsten SinemaThe infrastructure bill creates more need for workforce training Jesse Jackson arrested with voting rights protesters at Capitol Graham's COVID-19 'breakthrough' case jolts Senate MORE (D-Ariz.), who has been leading the bipartisan negotiation, told Democrats during a closed-door lunch that “we can get to the goal that I proposed, that we have legislation ready by Friday.”

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The timeline comes after a source told The Hill that the bill could come to the floor as soon as the week of July 19.

Members of the bipartisan group of 22 lawmakers have been negotiating behind the scenes to try to turn their framework, which they announced with President BidenJoe BidenFive takeaways from the Ohio special primaries FDA aims to give full approval to Pfizer vaccine by Labor Day: report Overnight Defense: Police officer killed in violence outside Pentagon | Biden officials back repeal of Iraq War authorization | NSC pushed to oversee 'Havana Syndrome' response MORE at the White House, into legislative text.

Sinema and Sen. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanHillicon Valley: Senate report finds major cyber shortcomings in federal agencies | Gig firms seek Mass. ballot question to classify workers as contractors | Blizzard's president steps down after workplace protests Senate report finds major cybersecurity shortcomings among federal agencies The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - White House, Dems play blame game over evictions MORE (R-Ohio) met on Monday night, and the larger group of bipartisan negotiators is expected to meet again on Tuesday.

The group has faced skepticism from progressives, who want an “ironclad” understanding on a separate Democrats-only bill in order to support the smaller proposal.

But Republicans are wary of helping pass a bipartisan deal if it also enables Democrats to pass a multitrillion-dollar package under reconciliation, which allows them to bypass the 60-vote filibuster.

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Republicans are also skeptical that the bipartisan group will be able to pay for all of its proposed spending. Republican negotiators have acknowledged that the Congressional Budget Office score is likely to come in lower than they would like.

“There’s also I think a belief, a widely held belief, in our conference that we ought to do everything we can to get credible offsets to help pay for it, and at this point I would say it's still an open question about whether they'll be able to get many of these to score,” Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneMcConnell warns Schumer cutting off debate quickly could stall infrastructure deal Seven-figure ad campaign urges GOP to support infrastructure bill The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - White House, Dems play blame game over evictions MORE (S.D.), the No. 2 Senate Republican, told reporters.

The bipartisan bill is one of two tracks currently being pursued by Democrats as they try to enact Biden’s sweeping jobs and families plan.

In addition to the bipartisan bill, Democrats want to use reconciliation to pass a larger infrastructure bill along party lines.

Schumer has vowed to hold a vote before the August recess on the bipartisan bill and a budget resolution that tees up Democrats using reconciliation for a second infrastructure bill.

Schumer met with Senate Budget Committee Democrats, led by Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersFive takeaways from the Ohio special primaries Briahna Joy Gray: Voters are 'torn' over Ohio special election Shontel Brown wins Ohio Democratic primary in show of establishment strength MORE (I-Vt.), on Monday night. The group will meet again on Tuesday night as they try to craft a budget resolution.

Democrats haven’t unveiled what the price tag will be for their reconciliation bill, something they need to work out before they roll out the budget resolution.