After days of deliberation, senators who negotiated a bipartisan infrastructure package unveiled the legislative text of the massive proposal Sunday night.
The 2,702-page bill was released after weeks of deliberation among a bipartisan group of 10 senators and members of the administration.
The bill, worth $550 billion in new spending, will address core infrastructure needs. It includes $110 billion in new funds for roads and bridges, $66 billion for rail, $7.5 billion to build out electric vehicle charging stations, $17 billion for ports, $25 billion for airports, $55 billion for clean drinking water, a $65 billion investment in high-speed internet and more.
The Senate will begin deliberation on amendments as it heads into the work week. Members of both parties have said they support a robust amendment process that will give lawmakers the chance to try to modify the bill.
There’s not yet an agreement on how many amendments will be considered, but Majority Leader Chuck Schumer made clear late Sunday night that he wants to see the Senate act swiftly to pass the legislation.
“Given how bipartisan the bill is and how much work has already been put in to get the details right, I believe the Senate can quickly process relevant amendments to pass this bill in a matter of days,” Schumer said.
Members of the bipartisan group heralded the agreement as a triumph of bipartisanship.
In a politically contentious environment with an evenly divided Senate, the bipartisan group said they felt it was important to demonstrate that across-the-aisle work can yield results.
“This process of starting from the center out has worked,” Sen. Rob Portman, an Ohio Republican and the chief Republican negotiator in the bipartisan group, said on the Senate floor Sunday evening.
“I am delighted to demonstrate to the American people that we can work across the aisle in a bipartisan way to achieve real results that matter to the people of this country,” Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, added.
It is not yet clear how many Republicans will ultimately vote to pass the legislation after amendments are considered, but the bill enjoyed broad bipartisan support in a key procedural test vote last week. Seventeen Republicans — including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell — voted with all of the Democrats to advance the legislation.
The bipartisan agreement is just one part of the two-pronged approach Democrats are taking to try to pass President Joe Biden’s American Families Plan into law.
Schumer has long stated that after the bipartisan bill is passed Democrats will work on moving a separate $3.5 trillion budget bill using a process called reconciliation, which allows them to bypass the usual 60-vote threshold necessary to pass legislation in the Senate.
That second, larger package is expected to include funding for things like pre-K, housing, health care and other items that Republicans struck from the bipartisan plan in order to achieve a more narrowly tailored infrastructure proposal.
To pass the budget bill, Schumer will need the support of every Democrat serving in the Senate. It’s not yet clear he’ll have it.
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., the chief Democratic negotiator on the bipartisan infrastructure deal, released a statement last week which said she does not support a bill that costs $3.5 trillion.
Several members of the Senate Budget Committee, which will handle that larger bill, say that for now, they’re focused on passing the bipartisan bill and on opening discussions about their package.
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