© Reuters. File photo: After the announcement of the bipartisan infrastructure agreement on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., on June 24, 2021, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) spoke to reporters. REUTERS/Tom Brenner/File Photo
WASHINGTON (Reuters)-Republicans in the U.S. Senate on Monday called on Democratic leader Chuck Schumer to postpone a procedural vote on the bipartisan infrastructure package as negotiators are struggling to find a way to pay the cost of the measure.
Schumer said last week that he will begin the process of procedural voting in the Senate on a $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill on Monday, which is a key part of Democratic President Joe Biden’s agenda.
It is not clear whether the bipartisan bill will get the necessary votes to make progress on Wednesday. One of the leaders of the organization, Republican Senator Rob Portman, said that if legislation is not ready, he will vote against the bill. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell has said that the upper house should not vote on the bill before the senator sees it.
Republican Senator Susan Collins, one of the legislators involved in the bipartisan infrastructure negotiations, told Reuters that Schumer’s Wednesday deadline seemed too ambitious, even though the group’s senators said they continued to work on legislation.
She said: “It is more important for us to propose a quality bill than to remove him from the air before an arbitrary deadline.”
Senator John Thun, the second Republican in the House of Representatives, urged Schumer to postpone Wednesday’s vote if legislation is not ready by then.
“If he advances arbitrarily before they actually reach some kind of agreement, then yes, all it has to do is delay it and make the final deal more difficult, I think. So I hope he’ll reconsider,” Thun told reporters.
Thun said: “There is still a long way to go to be prepared.”
Schumer’s assistant did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the possible delay.
Schumer once said that infrastructure is developing on two tracks. In addition to the first bipartisan line, the Democratic Party is also advancing a different 3.5 trillion dollar infrastructure plan, using a procedural tool called reconciliation.
McConnell has said that all Republicans in the Senate and House of Representatives will vote against the settlement bill, which means that if the bill is to be passed, every Democrat needs to vote for it. The huge bill aroused unease among some moderate members of the party.
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