Top Democrats say they expect Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who forced a vote to start debate on the bipartisan infrastructure proposal this week, to bring it up for another vote — if the group can finalize a deal soon.
Schumer (D-NY), who brought the $1.2 trillion package up Wednesday, declined GOP requests to delay a procedural vote on the not-yet-completed deal, causing it to fail 51 to 49.
“That’s what [Schumer] said he would do,” said Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), the second-highest-ranking Democrat in the body, told reporters after being asked if they would try again to start debate on the bipartisan deal.
The top-ranking Senate Democrat notably voted against the deal, a tactic which, for procedural reasons, gives him the ability to bring the legislation back for another vote.
“At the end of the vote, I changed my response to a ‘no’ so that I may move to reconsider this vote at a future time,” Schumer said while explaining his vote Wednesday.
Both he and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) have done this while serving in the majority.
Asked for a clearer timeline, Durbin said that he expected a second vote next week, with the understanding that the bipartisan bill would be ready by Monday.
“I was in the meeting and they felt pretty confident,” he said of the group, led by Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.).
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said Schumer assured him he will reintroduce the motion if the lawmakers on the negotiating team can marshal the 60 votes required to break the filibuster.
The Senate is split 50-50 between Republicans and Democrats, though Vice President Kamala Harris, as Senate president, has a tie-breaking vote. Still, 51 votes are not enough under current rules to break through the filibuster.
The legislative filibuster is the Senate rule requiring 60 members to end debate on most topics and move forward to a vote.
In this Congress, Democrats need 10 Republicans to move any major legislation forward, though they can bypass the filibuster through budget reconciliation on certain bills.
Reconciliation would allow Democrats to pass spending for critical projects, but the process cannot be used to change or create laws.
President Biden split his infrastructure package, a centerpiece of his post-COVID agenda, into two for Congress to pass.
The first, the “American Jobs Plan,” focused on infrastructure, while the second, the “American Families Plan,” is aimed at funding Democrats’ domestic policy platform.
Republicans took issue with the second package, which they argue stretches the definition of infrastructure.
Biden announced the $1.2 trillion deal earlier this month with the bipartisan group on hard infrastructure spending, valued at a little more than half of the original $2.3 trillion proposal.
That agreement, which is still up in the air as it has not yet been written or signed, could still fall through, leaving Democrats almost certain to return to the $2.3 trillion partisan reconciliation bill or something like it.
House Democrats have continued the process of writing the partisan legislation in the event that the Senate deal falls through.
For her part, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has thrown cold water on the idea of the House passing the compromise package if the Senate did not take up the “Families Plan” legislation, which would only pass through reconciliation.