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Portman rips ‘arbitrary deadline of Wednesday’ on infrastructure

Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) arrives for a vote on July 13
Greg Nash

Republican Sen. Rob Portman (Ohio) criticized the decision to set a preliminary vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill for Wednesday, calling the date an “arbitrary deadline.”

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Thursday announced that the upper chamber will vote to open debate on the bipartisan infrastructure package on Wednesday, setting up a key test vote on the legislation, which took months to negotiate. Schumer will file cloture on a shell bill that senators will later swap the bipartisan legislation into. 

Portman, however, told host Dana Bash on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday that the bill should be brought forward “when it’s ready.”

“It’s actually 11 Republicans and 11 Democrats putting this together. Chuck Schumer, with all due respect, is not writing the bill, nor is [Senate Minority Leader] Mitch McConnell [R-Ky.], by the way. So that’s why we shouldn’t have an arbitrary deadline of Wednesday. We should bring the legislation forward when it’s ready, and it’s incredibly important legislation,” Portman said.

“It’s important that we get it done. It’s been talked about for years, and yet it’s got to be done in a thoughtful bipartisan way. We don’t want to rush this process and make mistakes,” he added.

President Biden and a group of Republican and Democratic senators announced last month that they reached a deal for an infrastructure bill, bringing an end to a long negotiating period.

Last week, Schumer and Senate Budget Committee Democrats announced the second part of Biden’s infrastructure initiative: a $3.5 trillion infrastructure package to be passed through budget reconciliation, which will bypass a GOP filibuster by requiring only a simple majority vote for passage.

Wednesday is also the deadline Schumer has set for Democrats to be ready to “move forward” on the separate budget resolution. 

When asked if the bipartisan bill would be ready by Wednesday, Portman told Bash that “we’re still working on it. It’s more important to get it right than to meet an arbitrary deadline, and we are still negotiating.”

Tags Charles Schumer Chuck Schumer Dana Bash Joe Biden Mitch McConnell Rob Portman

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