Senators say they have reached a deal with the White House on the “major issues” in their bipartisan infrastructure talks and expect to start debate as soon as Wednesday.
“We now have an agreement on the major issues. We are prepared to move forward,” said Sen. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanOvernight On The Money — Presented by Wells Fargo — GOP senator: It's 'foolish' to buy Treasury bonds Senate lawmakers let frustration show with Blinken McConnell: Republicans 'united in opposition to raising the debt ceiling' MORE (Ohio), who led the negotiations for the Republicans.
Sen. Kyrsten SinemaKyrsten SinemaOvernight Energy & Environment — Presented by Climate Power — Emissions heading toward pre-pandemic levels Biden discusses agenda with Schumer, Pelosi ahead of pivotal week Biden goes after top 1 percent in defending tax hikes MORE (Ariz.), lead negotiator for the Democrats, said President BidenJoe BidenTrump endorses challenger in Michigan AG race On The Money: Democrats get to the hard part Health Care — GOP attorneys general warn of legal battle over Biden's vaccine mandate MORE supports the agreement.
“We’re very excited to have a deal,” she told reporters, adding that text would start being released later Wednesday.
The agreement is a sharp U-turn from Monday when the talks appeared to be on life support and senators were scrambling to pull their deal back from the brink of collapse.
But negotiators appeared close early Wednesday morning, and the five key Republican negotiators huddled with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellLindsey Graham: Police need 'to take a firm line' with Sept. 18 rally attendees Manchin keeps Washington guessing on what he wants CEOs urge Congress to raise debt limit or risk 'avoidable crisis' MORE (R-Ky.), describing him afterward as open-minded on the deal. Republicans are likely to discuss the agreement during their closed-door lunch on Wednesday.
And in a sign that a deal was imminent, Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerBiden discusses agenda with Schumer, Pelosi ahead of pivotal week CEOs urge Congress to raise debt limit or risk 'avoidable crisis' If .5 trillion 'infrastructure' bill fails, it's bye-bye for an increasingly unpopular Biden MORE (D-N.Y.) announced that senators should be prepared to vote to start debate as soon as Wednesday.
“Senators continue to make good progress on both tracks of legislation. Senators should be prepared to vote again on cloture on the motion to proceed to the bipartisan infrastructure bill as early as tonight,” Schumer said.
Democrats, who normally don’t meet for lunch on Wednesdays, will also hold a special caucus meeting at 1 p.m., where senators are expected to be briefed on the bipartisan group’s agreement.
To start debate, Schumer will need the support of 60 senators, meaning at least 10 Republicans if all 50 members of his caucus vote in favor of advancing.
All five of the core GOP negotiators are expected to vote to start debate. Sens. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamTrump offers sympathy for those charged with Jan. 6 offenses Lindsey Graham: Police need 'to take a firm line' with Sept. 18 rally attendees Overnight Defense & National Security — Milley becomes lightning rod MORE (R-S.C.) told reporters that he was inclined to vote to start debate. Sen. Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisGOP senators unveil bill designating Taliban as terrorist organization Without major changes, more Americans could be victims of online crime How to fix the semiconductor chip shortage (it's more than manufacturing) MORE (R-N.C.) and Sen. Kevin CramerKevin John CramerThe Memo: Biden beats Trump again — this time in the Senate The 19 GOP senators who voted for the T infrastructure bill Republicans unveil bill to ban federal funding of critical race theory MORE (R-N.C.) said they will vote to start debate.
If the Senate is able to start its debate, Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneManchin keeps Washington guessing on what he wants Manchin-McConnell meet amid new voting rights push Republican leaders misjudged Jan. 6 committee MORE (R-S.D.), the No. 2 Senate Republican, predicted that it ultimately passes. He said he was open to supporting the deal, but wanted to see the text first.
The vote comes after Republicans blocked debate on the measure last week. GOP negotiators at the time accused Schumer of rushing the process.
The agreement comes after Biden and the bipartisan group announced late last month that they had reached a deal on a framework that would cost $1.2 trillion over eight years.
Since then they have struggled to lock down the details and agree on how to pay for the package. Their fight erupted into public Monday, as Republicans balked at a “global” offer made by the White House and Schumer.
If the Senate is able to start debate on what will effectively be a shell bill that the bipartisan text will be swapped into, Schumer has said lawmakers will work through the weekend.
Sen. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerAdvocates call on top Democrats for 0B in housing investments Democrats draw red lines in spending fight Manchin puts foot down on key climate provision in spending bill MORE (D-Va.), part of the bipartisan group, indicated during an interview with Punchbowl News that scenario was likely.
“To my friends in the press, I would cancel your weekend plans and then cancel all your dinner plans for the foreseeable future,” he said Wednesday morning.
Updated 1:12 p.m.