© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: US President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the economy from the White House in Washington, United States, on July 19, 2021. REUTERS / Jonathan Ernst / File Photo
By Susan Cornwell
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The US Senate, in a rare session on Saturday, worked on a bill that would spend $ 1 trillion on roads, rail lines and other infrastructure, as lawmakers from both parties sought to promote the top legislative priority. from President Joe Biden.
The ambitious plan has the backing of Democrats and Republicans alike and has already overcome two hurdles by wide margins in a narrowly divided Senate.
But so far, lawmakers have not seen the final text of the bill, which includes about $ 550 billion in new spending and was still being drafted on Saturday. Previous votes were in favor of a phantom bill that will incorporate current legislation once it is complete.
The leader of the Democratic Senate of the United States, Chuck Schumer, said in the plenary session of the Senate that the bipartisan group that works in the legislation needs more time.
“The staff is still working and says they will have the final piece of legislation ready tomorrow,” Schumer said Saturday night.
“When the legislative text is ready, I will offer it as a substitute amendment and after that, we can start voting on the amendments,” said the top Senate Democrat.
After passing the $ 1 trillion bill, Schumer aims to push forward a $ 3.5 trillion package that focuses on climate change and home care for the elderly and children. That faces strong Republican opposition and some dissent among moderate Democrats.
“The Senate is going to move forward on both infrastructure tracks before the start of the August recess. The longer it takes to finish, the longer we’ll be here. But we’re going to get the job done,” Schumer said. earlier on Saturday.
The Senate voted 66-28 on Friday to accept the bill, with 16 Republicans joining 48 Democrats and two independents in support.
The package would dramatically increase the nation’s spending on roads, bridges, transit, and airports. Supporters predicted that it will eventually pass the Senate and House of Representatives, eventually reaching Biden’s desk for him to sign and make into law.
It includes about $ 550 billion in new spending, in addition to $ 450 billion that was previously approved. It also includes money to remove leaded water pipes and build electric vehicle charging stations.
The bill does not include funding for most of the social and climate change initiatives that Democrats intend to pass in the separate $ 3.5 trillion measure without Republican support.
Democrats have very narrow margins in both the Senate and the House of Representatives, which means the party must stick together to achieve its legislative goals.
Progressive (NYSE 🙂 members of the House Democratic caucus have already suggested that the $ 1 trillion package is inappropriate, and the Senate could also impose changes that could complicate its chances of becoming law.
But supporters, including Schumer and Senate Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, have been optimistic about his prospects.
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