The procedural vote to approve Biden’s infrastructure agenda, which the US Senate is working on as a bipartisan package, has been met with prolonged delays. As recourse, Democratic leader and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said that they will ditch the bipartisan track and instead proceed with the voting process via the “reconciliation” procedure on Wednesday, since it does not require a majority of 60 votes to officially approve the infrastructure bill.
While the move puts pressure on Republican negotiators who are trying to seek alternative methods of paying for the proposed infrastructure projects, Democratic leaders fully support Sen. schumer’s decision to proceed with reconciliation.
Nonetheless, Senate Majority Leader Schumer assured the GOP Senate negotiators that the reconciliation procedural vote does not pose as finalization of the bill but only to set the legislative process in motion on the Senate floor. The procedural vote was announced last Monday, after Republicans advised Schumer for yet another delay by deferring the bipartisan voting, in light of ongoing negotiations.
He added that in proceeding with the infrastructure bill they could do it by way of the bipartisan track which requires at least 60 votes coming from both parties. However, since many of the GOP senators are against the infrastructure bill, delays in negotiations have prolonged decisions in putting the bill up for voting on the Senate floor.
Once the infrastructure bill passes through reconciliation, Democrats will begin with a different $3.5 trillion infrastructure package, unaffected by the proposals of GOP negotiators. After all, the Democrats now represent the majority party in the Senate. However, the reconciliation procedure is not always applicable as it can be used only on proposals related to budget provisions.
What GOP Senators are Saying?
One of the negotiating group’s leaders Republican Senator Rob Portman, has announced that he will not vote for the bill if the legislation is still not ready. Moreover, he mentioned that their group has rushed to prepare a proposal urging the IRS to improve their methods of tracking tax evaders.
Senators of the same group shared that in their discussions, they have come up with provisions that will bring back the imposition of fees on chemicals being used to help support acking the Superfund program. The latter is a program that carries on with clean-ups of contaminated sites where toxic wastes have damaged the area. Still, the GOP negotiators requested Schumer to postpone the move to vote on the infrastructure bill.