Salem Radio Network News Sunday, September 26, 2021

Politics

U.S. Senate to vote to open debate on $1 trillion infrastructure bill

By David Morgan and Richard Cowan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Senate was poised on Friday to vote to begin debate on a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill that is one of Democratic President Joe Biden’s top domestic priorities.

The result of months of talks between senators and the White House, the plan https://www.reuters.com/article/usa-biden-infrastructure-details/factbox-whats-in-the-us-senates-bipartisan-1-tln-infrastructure-plan-idUSL1N2P52EF includes funding to revamp roads, bridges and airports, but not the spending on combating climate change and social initiatives Democrats want to pass in a separate $3.5 trillion measure over Republican objections.

The Senate was due to vote at 11:30 a.m. EDT (1530 GMT) to open debate on the $1 trillion bill, beginning a process that could last for days and could include amendments that change the bill or cloud its chances of passage.

Both Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat, and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, have been upbeat about the road ahead on the bill, which was brokered by Senate negotiators and White House officials and cleared an important procedural hurdle by a vote of 67-32 on Wednesday.

“It took some prodding and a few deadlines, but it has all worked out for the better,” Schumer said on Thursday on the Senate floor.

McConnell, who was among 17 Republicans who voted to advance the measure, called it a “focused compromise” and an “important, basic duty of government.”

Lawmakers still have not seen the full text of the bill. Senate leaders have warned them to expect to work into the weekend on the measure.

Some amendments are expected to be proposed, including on the bill’s broadband internet provisions, the Senate’s number two Republican, John Thune, said, without giving details.

Democrats hold razor-thin margins in the House and Senate, meaning the party will need to stick together to achieve its legislative goals. Progressive members of the House Democratic caucus have already raised concerns that the $1 trillion package is smaller than they had hoped for.

Biden on Thursday said the $3.5 trillion bill should include a pathway to citizenship for the “Dreamer” immigrants https://www.reuters.com/world/us/biden-says-immigration-should-be-big-democratic-budget-bill-2021-07-29 who were brought to the United States as children. That will require the approval of the Senate parliamentarian, since Democrats are aiming to pass that larger bill through a process called budget reconciliation https://www.reuters.com/world/us/us-senates-reconciliation-process-its-not-way-it-sounds-2021-06-16 that avoids the Senate’s normal 60-vote threshold to pass most legislation.

Schumer said on Thursday his goal remains to pass both the bipartisan infrastructure bill and the larger companion bill before senators take their summer break, which was supposed to start in the second week of August.

(Reporting by David Morgan and Richard Cowan; Editing by Scott Malone and Peter Graff)

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