Schumer: Democrats ‘on track’ to pass bipartisan deal, $3.5T budget
Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said during a rare Sunday session that Democrats are “on track” to pass a bipartisan infrastructure agreement and a budget resolution that will tee up a separate $3.5 trillion spending package before they leave for their summer break.
“Despite some bumps in the road, always expected on two bills as large and comprehensive as these, we remain firmly on track to achieve our two-track goal,” Schumer said.
Schumer’s comments come as the Senate is waiting for a bipartisan group of senators to finalize and release the text of its agreement for a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill over eight years, which would include $550 billion in new spending.
The group had hoped to release the legislation on Saturday, but that slipped as last-minute negotiations and drafting continued off of the Senate floor. Members of the bipartisan group indicated during Sunday morning show interviews that they expect the bill will be released later in the day.
Schumer, speaking from the Senate floor, said that he expected it to be “finalized imminently” and wants to pass it within “a matter of days.”
The deal has already overcome two procedural hurdles with the support of roughly 17 GOP senators. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), a member of the bipartisan group, said she thought it would have enough Republican support to pass as soon as later this week.
“My hope is that we’ll finish the bill by the end of the week,” Collins said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
After the Senate finishes the bipartisan bill, Schumer reiterated that he will bring up the budget resolution that will greenlight and lay out the instructions for a $3.5 trillion spending package that includes top Democratic priorities such as expanding Medicare, combating climate change and reforming immigration.
“After the bipartisan infrastructure legislation passes this chamber, I will immediately move to the other track, passing a budget resolution with reconciliation instructions,” he said.
The Senate had been expected to start its summer break on Aug. 9 but is expected to lose the first week in order to finish up its work.
To pass the budget resolution, Democrats will need total unity. Leadership is feeling increasingly confident that it will have all 50 votes for the budget, with key moderates such as Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) and Jon Tester (D-Mont.) all pledging to take it up.
They are then expected to spend at least August and September drafting the spending package itself. If they’ll be able to get all 50 Democratic votes in the Senate is less clear.
Sinema has said she won’t support a $3.5 trillion price tag, and Manchin has raised concerns about spending.
“I can’t really guarantee anybody. I have not guaranteed anybody on any of these pieces of legislation. Would we like to do more? Yes, you can do what you can pay for. This is paid for. Our infrastructure bill is all paid for. We don’t have a debt, that we’re going to incur more debt in throwing onto it,” Manchin told CNN on Sunday.