Schumer accuses Republicans of slowing down $1 trillion infrastructure package after a lone GOP Senator snarled up the timeline

Schumer accuses Republicans of slowing down $1 trillion infrastructure package after a lone GOP Senator snarled up the timeline
·3 min read
Chuck Schumer
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) speaks during a news conference about climate change outside the U.S. Capitol on July 28, 2021 in Washington, DC. Drew Angerer/Getty Images
  • Chuck Schumer blamed the GOP for slowing down the passage of the infrastructure bill.

  • The $1 trillion package would see spending on high-speed internet, new roads, and other projects.

  • Sen. Bill Haggerty, a Republican who opposes the bill, blocked efforts to fast-track it.

  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer accused Republicans of slowing efforts to pass President Joe Biden's $1 trillion infrastructure bill after a GOP Senator scuppered efforts to speed up the timeline.

Biden's infrastructure bill would see billions of dollars spent on new roads, bridges, highways, high-speed internet, and improvements to drinking water.

He initially proposed a much bigger package, but settled on a smaller one agreed by Senators of both parties hoping to command bipartisan in the 50-50 chamber.

The bill has already cleared two important votes with some Republican support, and lawmakers have so far approved seven amendments. On Thursday, lawmakers tried striking a deal to put up further amendments for a vote and secure final passage for a bill.

Senators met on Thursday for a day of negotiations to try and speed up the passage of the bill, but Schumer said that Republicans were intentionally slowing down the process. Congressional leaders tried getting unanimous consent from every senator to fast-track the bill, but it only takes one to derail it.

"We've worked long, hard, and collaboratively to finish this important, bipartisan bill," Schumer said late on Thursday after the negotiations ended, per the Associated Press.

"The Senate has considered 22 amendments during this process and we've been willing to consider many more.

"In fact, we have been trying to vote on amendments all day but have encountered numerous objections from the other side.

He said the Senate would meet for a vote on Saturday to try again to expedite the process.

The lawmaker resisting efforts to expedite the process was Sen. Bill Haggerty, Punchbowl News reported. He opposes the bill on the grounds that it is too expensive.

In a statement, Haggerty said: "The CBO [Congressional Budget Office] indicated this bill will increase the deficit by at least $256 billion dollars when it was supposed to break even.

"Despite this news, I was asked to consent to expedite the process and pass it.

"I could not, in good conscience, allow that to happen at this hour-especially when the objective of the majority is to hurry up and pass this bill so that they can move quickly to their $3.5 trillion tax-and-spend spree designed to implement the Green New Deal and increase Americans' dependence on the government so I objected."

Senate leaders will likely try again on Saturday to get an agreement to speed up the process, Punchbowl News reported. But any senator including Haggerty could once again block the agreement.

There were some signs of trouble on Thursday evening. Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, the chief Republican vote counter, told reporters earlier in the evening "always bet against the house around here."

"Things just kind of got bogged down a little bit because there were a number of disagreements," he later told reporters. "And when somebody doesn't get their amendment, they put a hold on everything else. And we've seen this before, I mean it's a frequent movie around here."

A late clash on competing amendments outlining cryptocurrency tax reporting requirements also appeared to play a role slowing down the bill. Two dueling bipartisan groups are fighting over which cryptocurrency brokers will be required to file information with the IRS.

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