Schumer says Senate may work through weekend on infrastructure

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Schumer says Senate may work through weekend on infrastructure

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Monday that the upper chamber could be in session through this coming weekend as negotiators struggle to iron out the final details of a $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure plan.

Lawmakers had hoped to have a final bill completed early this week after Senate Republicans blocked a procedural vote to start debate on the not-yet-completed legislation July 21. Schumer had eyed bringing the measure back to the floor this week.

“We have reached a critical moment,” the New York Democrat said on the Senate floor. “The bipartisan group of Senators has had nearly five weeks of negotiations since they first announced an agreement with President Biden. It’s time for everyone to get to ‘yes’ and produce an outcome for the American people.”

While negotiators continued their work over this past weekend, sticking points remain over funding for public transit, water systems, broadband and how to pay for the sweeping plan.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer wants to get the bill through the Senate sometime this summer.
REUTERS/Elizabeth Frantz

Republicans have rebuffed a so-called “global offer” from the White House and Democratic lawmakers which includes $579 billion in new spending, arguing the proposal negates provisions that were already agreed upon.

As lawmakers continue to attempt to overcome the impasse, partisan finger-pointing over responsibility for the lack of a deal has begun.

CNN first reported Monday morning that Democrats had accused Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) of having “reneged” on an agreement to fund water infrastructure projects, with $15 billion to be used toward lead pipe water contamination.

Romney dismissed the allegation, with his office telling the network the accusation was “laughably false.”

“As the White House’s own website shows, the deal on water was for $55 billion in new spending,” their statement added. “After days of radio silence, Schumer now wants $70 billion. This is a direct violation of the bipartisan agreement.”

Another sticking point involves the wages federal contractors and subcontractors are required to pay laborers and mechanics. Republicans have accused Democrats of moving the goal posts in the global offer by adding wage requirements to certain projects.

“Democrats want prevailing wages in broadband, cybersecurity, school busses, and ferries,” one Republican source said. “Democrats also want to add prevailing wages to the new infrastructure financing authority which includes projects ranging from roads and bridges to electric vehicle charging stations and carbon capture projects.”

Schumer has said that he hopes to get a bipartisan bill through the Senate sometime this summer and has warned that lawmakers’ scheduled August recess could be delayed in order to finish the job.

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