Senate infrastructure test vote expected to fail as Republicans push for more details

A procedural vote on a $1 trillion infrastructure plan was expected to fail on Wednesday in the Senate, as Republicans seek more time to negotiate on the public-works spending proposal.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, set the test vote in hopes of beginning debate on the legislation, which is still being written. But Republicans, whose votes are needed to advance the measure, said they’d oppose moving forward without more details on its contents and how it would be paid for.

Democrats need the support of at least 10 Republicans to reach the 60-vote threshold to advance the infrastructure deal.

“We’re just not ready,” Sen. Rob Portman, an Ohio Republican, told CNBC on Wednesday morning. “It’s going to take a little more time.”

Some Republicans, including Sens. Mitt Romney of Utah and Susan Collins of Maine, were pressing to delay the vote until Monday to give negotiators more time to reach a deal.

Schumer on Tuesday declined to comment on whether he would bring the infrastructure bill up again if the procedural vote fails Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal reported. Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders, a Vermont independent, has said if the infrastructure deal falls apart, he wants to include it in a bigger package Democrats are aiming to pass along party lines.  

The infrastructure
package is one element of President Joe Biden’s massive economic agenda, which also includes a plan to spend $3.5 trillion on education, climate resiliency and support for families.

Biden pressed for both measures in a speech on Monday, pushing back against critics who say his plans are spurring inflation.

Read: Biden says inflation expected to be temporary as he pushes big infrastructure, social spending packages

U.S. stocks
on Wednesday opened higher, extending a bounce from a selloff that started the week as investors played down worries over the spread of the delta variant of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 and took comfort in upbeat earnings reports.

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