Senators Reach Infrastructure Deal

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Senator Rob Portman
Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) questions Alejandro Mayorkas, nominee to be Secretary of Homeland Security as he testifies during his confirmation hearing in the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on January 19, 2021 in Washington, D.C.

A vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill may take place late Wednesday after key senators announced they reached a deal on "major issues" with the Biden administration.

“We have an agreement on the major issues. We are prepared to move forward,” said Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio.

Sen. Kirsten Sinema, D-Ariz., said the last details are soon to be completed.

“We are very excited to have a deal,” Sinema said. “We got most of the text done, so we’ll be releasing it and then we’ll update it as we get those last pieces finalized.” 

The original framework of the deal was worth $1.2 trillion over eight years and includes $600 billion in new spending. Both parties had struggled to find common on spending.

Republicans had stalled over the bill over questions about how it would be funded and how much would be allocated to transit, highways, water infrastructure, and broadband. According to Portman the package is “more than paid for.” 

The agreement boils down to $110 billion for roads, $65 billion to expand broadband, and $47 billion for environmental resiliency according to lawmakers. 

Five key Republican negotiators met with Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who they say was open-minded to the deal. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer who has been “fully committed” to passing the bipartisan deal prior to the August recess said senators should be prepared to vote to begin debate Wednesday. 

“Senators continue to make good progress on both tracks of legislation. Senators should be prepared to vote again on cloture on the motion to proceed to the bipartisan infrastructure bill as early as tonight,” Schumer said. 

The bipartisan plan needs 10 Republican votes and all 50 Democrats in order to be passed. 

The bill could be a big step towards rebuilding the country. The Biden administration has sought an ambitious $3.5 trillion infrastructure plan via reconciliation aiming to expand Medicare to include dental, vision, and hearing, and fund education, childcare, healthcare, and combating climate change. 

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