Senate fails to finalize bipartisan infrastructure bill, will hold key vote Saturday

Senate infrastructure negotiators
Senate infrastructure negotiators Alex Wong/Getty Images

Senators were preparing to work all night Thursday to finalize a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package, but they threw in the towel and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) instead scheduled a pivotal procedural vote for Saturday. "We have been trying to vote on amendments all day but have encountered numerous objections from the other side," he said right before midnight. "However, we very much want to finish this important bill, so we will reconvene Saturday."

Senators worked for hours on Thursday trying to finalize the remaining amendments to the 2,702-page bill. They hit snags on a proposed change to a provision regulating the cryptocurrency market, and Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.) "refused to sign off" on "a package of amendments for consideration that could grease the wheels to final passage," despite "intense lobbying from Republican colleagues," Politico reports.

"Everybody's in a bad mood in there," Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said as she left the Senator floor late Thursday night.

Another kink in the plans to expedite passage Thursday was the Congressional Budget Office's analysis that the bill, which authorizes $550 billion in new spending, would add $256 billion to the federal deficit over a decade. The bill's negotiators said the CBO is not accounting for all the offsets and the package's boost to economic growth.

The Senate is expected to be in effective recess on Friday as many senators fly to Wyoming for the funeral of former Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), who died last week after a bike accident. "If the bill beats a filibuster on Saturday, it will be on a glide path to passage," Politico says. "Immediately after that, the Senate will turn to consider a Democratic budget that will set up potential future passage of a spending bill as large as $3.5 trillion." Schumer wants both bills off the Senate's plate before the chamber's August recess.

The infrastructure bill is, so far, a rare bipartisan success story, embracing priorities of Senate Democrats and Republicans and President Biden. Politico counts 18 Republican senators, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who have signaled their support for the bill on key procedural votes.

In a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday, 65 percent of Americans said they support the bipartisan infrastructure package and 62 percent said they support the Democrats' $3.5 trillion follow-up package, even as Biden's job approval rating slipped 3 percentage points to 46 percent.

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