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Senate advances $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill, bringing it closer to final passage with McConnell's support

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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
  • The 1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill cleared another procedural hurdle on Saturday.

  • The vote was 67-27, and 18 Republicans voted to advance it including Mitch McConnell.

  • A Senate showdown is looming over an amendment to collect unpaid taxes from cryptocurrency.

  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

The Senate advanced a bipartisan infrastructure bill on Saturday, bringing it another step closer to final passage sometime over the weekend.

It cleared the upper chamber in a 67-27 vote on Saturday afternoon. 18 Republicans joined 49 Senate Democrats to break the filibuster. Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock of Georgia was absent.

Those Senate Republicans joining Democrats to advance the bill included Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Sens. Mitt Romney of Utah and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana among others. The bill would pour $550 billion in fresh federal spending onto repairing roads, bridges, highways, and upgrading broadband connections.

Lawmakers are still haggling on which amendments to vote on before setting up a final vote. An earlier attempt to fast-track the bill collapsed because one GOP senator opposed it, citing how the bill would grow the national debt.

Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia suggested that Congressional leadership were eyeing at least 15. Those votes could happen either Saturday or Sunday, but major disagreements remain.

"I don't think that they're really going well," Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, the chief GOP vote counter, told reporters on Saturday about the talks.

One amendment is drawing increased attention. Two dueling groups of bipartisan senators are clashing over an amendment to step up tax enforcement on cryptocurrency actors. Sens. Ron Wyden, Pat Toomey, and Cynthia Lummis are pushing an amendment to omit more groups from reporting to the IRS.

Another group - Democratic Sens. Mark Warner and Kyrsten Sinema, and Republican Sen. Rob Portman - still want to exempt actors from IRS filing requirements, but not as many as the other faction wants. The White House backs the Portman measure.

Former President Donald Trump assailed the bill on Saturday, saying he would back primary challenges for the GOP senators who vote for it.

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